1,062 doctors, nurses, other health workers infected with COVID-19 in PH

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 22 2020 05:27 PM | Updated as of Apr 22 2020 06:11 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Department of Health on Wednesday said there are now over 1,000 health workers infected with the novel coronavirus.

“Mayroon po tayong 1,062 health care workers na nagpositibo sa COVID-19,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing.

(We have 1,062 health care workers who tested positive for COVID-19.)

Of this number 422 are doctors, 386 are nurses, 30 are medical technologists, 21 are radiologic technologists, 51 are nursing assistants and 152 are other employees of health facilities and barangay health workers.

Vergeire said 26 health workers, including 19 doctors, have died.

As of Wednesday, there have been a total of 6,710 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.

Just this week, the World Health Organization said the increasing number of COVID-19 positive health workers in the Philippines is “worrisome.”

Asked if the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) is a factor, Vergeire said the DOH continues to procure PPEs to keep the country’s health workers safe. She said guidelines are also in place to ensure the proper handling of PPEs.

“So ito pong aming protocol at guidelines for PPEs ay base rin po sa aming consultations at pakiki-discuss with WHO at iba pa nating eksperto,” she added.

(Our protocol and guidelines for PPEs are based on our consultations and discussions with WHO and other experts.)

Vergeire said the use of PPEs is only one strategy being followed. Other measures include the use of negative pressure isolation rooms to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Ang kagawaran ay kaisa ng World Health Organization sa pag-iimbestiga kung may hindi sumusunod sa alituntunin tungkol sa infection control sa ating mga health facilities,” the health officials said.

(The department is working with the World Health Organization in investigating if there are those not following the guidelines for infection control in our health facilities.)

Vergeire said the DOH was always ready to offer support for health workers and would keep looking for ways to ensure their safety.

Last month, a number of health workers and hospitals asked for donations because of the lack of PPEs. 

Besides a global shortage in PPE supplies, the continued increase in COVID-19 cases has also forced some health workers to wear improved gowns and masks.