'Not a death sentence': Makati hospital says about a quarter of its COVID-19 patients recover

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2020 09:11 AM | Updated as of Mar 31 2020 10:03 AM

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MANILA - The Makati Medical Center said Tuesday about a quarter of its novel coronavirus patients had recovered, as the Philippines logged more cases of the pandemic.

The MMC sent home 29 out of a total 103 coronavirus patients after they got better and tested negative for the disease. Majority of those who recovered were between 40 and 60 years old, said the hospital's medical director Dr Saturnino Javier.

"Hindi po ito seal of death. Hindi naman ibig sabihin 'pag nagkaroon ka ng COVID e iyon na ang final death sentence," he told DZMM

(This is not a seal of death. If you get COVID-19, that does not mean that it's a final death sentence.)

The MMC is still treating 35 others who tested positive for the disease and about 50 "patients under investigation" who have symptoms of the disease, said Javier.

Replicating the "best practices" of other countries, Javier said MMC gives these patients "broad spectrum" antibiotics, anti-viral drugs, vitamin C and zinc. Patients are also immediately hooked to ventilators to help them breathe if their oxygenation status goes down, he said.

Once patients recover "based on clinical symptoms" and test negative for the disease once, the MMC sends them home with "very strict" precautions like wearing masks for 14 days. They are tested for the COVID-19 once more as outpatients, he said.

"We treat them as not completely free of the disease or the virus kaya pag-iingat pa rin po ang kailangan (so precaution is necessary)," the doctor told DZMM.
 
"Kapag naghintay kami na [dalawang] tests maging negative, hindi ho kami makakapag-admit ng panibago, mapupuno po tayo nang mapupuno at hindi po kami makakapag-service ng mga mas nangangailangan," he added.

(If we wait for 2 tests to yield negative results, we will no longer be able to admit new patients, our hospital will get full and we won't be able too serve those who need us more.)

None of the MMC's workers have succumbed to the respiratory disease, unlike in some hospitals where doctors were infected by their patients, he said.

At least 10 people have died of the COVID-19, said Javier. The health department has yet to release data on how many health workers were infected with the disease.

The MMC recently made headlines after it rebuked Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel for accompanying his wife inside its facilities when he was supposed to be in quarantine while he waited for the results of his COVID-19 screening. He eventually tested positive for the disease.

The Philippines as of Monday confirmed 78 deaths out of its total 1,546 cases of the disease. The tally, which included 42 patients who were cured, could spike with the recent arrival of additional test kits, said the health department.

Metro Manila and the entire Luzon, home to about half of the country's 100 million people, is under lockdown until April 12.