3 San Lazaro Hospital health workers infected with COVID-19

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 29 2020 09:02 AM | Updated as of Mar 29 2020 01:55 PM

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MANILA - Three healthcare workers of San Lazaro Hospital in Manila have tested positive for COVID-19, its chief for adult infectious diseases said Sunday.

Dr. Rontgene Solante, the hospital's adult infectious diseases chief, said all healthcare workers assigned in wards handling COVID-19 patients were tested after 1 or 2 showed symptoms of the virus.

The hospital had already conducted contact tracing and none who were exposed to the infected personnel are showing symptoms, he said.

Solante said he will recommend to the hospital's management to test its personnel every 2 weeks.

"When you are dealing with this infection, when you regularly talk with health workers, there’s always this fear and uncertainty they may be having the infection... the fear they cannot go back to their homes and see their families," he told ANC.

"These are the parameters why I gave this recommendation to alleviate that fear. With that alleviation, somehow, they are encouraged to work and be part of the management of these patients."

The hospital, which specializes in infectious diseases, might already reach its full capacity in accepting COVID-19 patients as 27 or 28 out of 36 beds are currently occupied, Solante said.

"Just yesterday, we had new eight admissions. Probably today, we’ll be in full capacity already... If the wards are already full, that's the time that we cannot really accept patients," he said.

"Our PPEs (personal protective equipment) are only allocated in this number of rooms. We also have to factor in our health workers... We cannot compromise safety of our healthcare workers while taking care of these patients."

Meanwhile, Solante notes that some of those confirmed to have acquired the disease manifested symptoms before Luzon went on lockdown two weeks ago.

"The incubation period by which a particular individual will manifest is within 14 (days)... Probably, we can add another week and look at the trend," he said.

"After that week, we’ll evaluate and see if the trend of the infection is going down. But up to now, we have observed it is still going up."

Solante said that the imposition of a community quarantine should not only entail the locking down of that community, but the need to be proactive, "going house to house," to survey who are symptomatic.

"(Who are showing) the mildest symptoms? Then, you have to give instruction. Are they being strictly quarantined? Are they in a separate room? Are they wearing face mask? If you cannot do these things, and they are still within that confine of the room together with the other members of the family, then you continue to transmit the virus," he said.

"And when they go out, like they go to the market to buy something or to buy their necessity, then that can be an area also that some of them that can be mildly symptomatic, they don't know they are already symptomatic, can transmit the infection still in the community."

As of Saturday, the Philippines has recorded 1,075 cases of COVID-19, with 68 deaths and 35 recoveries, according to the DOH.