DOH urged: Monitor 38,000 mass virus recoveries


Posted at Jul 31 2020 12:45 PM

A nurse (left) checks on a patient who has recovered from the COVID-19 coronavirus as he undergoes a procedure to donate plasma at a hospital in Manila on April 22, 2020. Maria Tan, Agence France-Presse/File

MANILA — The Department of Health should monitor coronavirus patients who are among the 38,000 recoveries that marked a record-high single-day figure since the outbreak began, a former government adviser said Friday. 

The DOH on Thursday started labelling mild and asymptomatic cases who remained healthy for 14 days since diagnosis as recovered patients. This brought up the number of recoveries to 65,064—a jump of 38,075 cases. 

There is a chance that these patients could still transmit the virus if they are released from isolation without undergoing tests to confirm that they are already negative of infection, said Dr. Tony Leachon, former adviser of the national task force on COVID-19 response. 

“Be careful, you have to monitor these patients because they might be actually sources of local transmission in the future,” he advised the health department. 

The Philippines should follow the example of Israel whose doctors regularly follow up on the condition of recovered patients through online meetings, he said. 

The US and India in mid-July also started classifying as recovered patients the mild and asymptomatic cases who stayed healthy for 14 days. Both countries have yet to contain the coronavirus pandemic, said Leachon. 

Before adopting this classification, the Philippines had “the lowest in terms of recovery rate in Southeast Asia,” he said. 

The DOH should have announced earlier that it would tweak its recovery classification instead of announcing that 38,075 additional patients got well on the eve of new quarantine classifications, said the public health expert. 

“This is quite high. People of course will react to this. Perhaps, they could have done 2 weeks ago or one month ago that they are actually doing this so that people will not be surprised,” Leachon said.