DOH: Health workers with mild symptoms now included in COVID-19 tests


Posted at Mar 31 2020 09:25 PM | Updated as of Mar 31 2020 10:42 PM

Hospital front liners that consist of a nurse and security guards wear personal protective equipment as they man the entrance of the emergency room in the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Tondo, Manila on March 24, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Frontline health workers who are experiencing mild symptoms will now be tested for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

The agency has amended its testing protocol to include healthcare workers, who are now considered part of the "vulnerable population," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.

“Pangalagaan po natin ang ating healthcare workers. Kasama na po sila ngayon sa ating protocol kung sino ang puwedeng i-test," she said.

(Let's take care of our health care workers. They are now included in our testing protocol.)

This, after the DOH received calls from healthcare workers who were refused tests despite having symptoms and exposed to infected patients.

In its March 16 protocol, those eligible for testing were patients under investigation (PUIs) with mild symptoms who are elderly, with underlying condition, immuno-compromised, and admitted PUIs in severe and critical condition.

The COVID-19 crisis raging across the country has already claimed 12 Filipino doctors, the Philippine Medical Association said.

The doctor-to-patient ratio currently stands at 1:40,000, far from the ideal 1:10,000, Dr. Oscar Tinio, chair of the association's commission on legislation, had said.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines has recorded 2,084 COVID-19 cases.

The tally, which is expected to rise because of the increased testing capacity of the country’s laboratories, include 88 deaths and 49 patients who recovered from the disease.