Doctors infected with COVID-19 more than quadrupled in March — gov’t data

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 07 2021 10:41 PM

MANILA — New COVID-19 infections among doctors more than quadrupled last month, according to Department of Health data analyzed by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group (IRG).

From February 28 to March 27, 205 doctors became COVID-positive compared to just 49 from the previous period. 

“New infections among nurses and nursing assistants meanwhile, more than doubled last month compared to the month prior,” the ABS-CBN IRG said in its report. From 156 COVID-positive nurses from January 31 to February 27, the number went up to 373 for the next 28 days.

The ABS-CBN IRG first flagged the rise in COVID-19 cases among health workers last month as infections in the country surged. Many hospitals in Metro Manila had reportedly been swamped with patients. 

The high bed occupancy rates in hospitals partly forced the government to place Metro Manila and nearby provinces under stricter quarantine measures.

HIGHEST 2-WEEK TALLY

For the last two weeks, 654 new COVID infections among health workers were recorded by the Department of Health. 

“This is the highest number of new infections among health workers recorded over a two-week period since November,” the ABS-CBN IRG noted.

In total, there are now 16,185 health workers who have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Of those, 621 are active cases.

Before the surge in health workers infections starting March, there had been a downward trend in COVID-19 cases in the sector from September last year to February 2021, according to the ABS-CBN IRG.

Deaths remained at 82 for the last month and a half although government data on COVID-19 deaths is usually delayed compared to new cases and recoveries.

Of the total cases, nurses still make up the biggest proportion with 5,812 cases as of April 3.    They are followed by physicians with 2,629, and nursing assistants with 1,195.

On the other hand, doctors have the largest number of deaths at 40%.

Health workers are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines but as of Wednesday, the total number of individuals inoculated, including senior citizens and persons with comorbidities, have not even reached 1 millions. 

The DOH estimates that there are 1.8 million health workers in the Philippines.

The government has been criticized for the slow rollout of vaccines as it aims to vaccinate up to 70 million Filipinos by the end of the year to reach herd immunity.