MANILA — The Department of Health on Friday said they are now evaluating the deaths of 22 more health workers supposedly due to COVID-19 and if their families are eligible for the P1-million compensation promised by the government.
This, after government released P1-million checks to families of 31 medical workers who died because of the coronavirus as a state benefit.
“Itong sa deaths 31 na na-release na for the 1 million for the checks of these health care workers. And mayroon tayong ine-evaluate na 22,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.
(These 31 health workers deaths had their P1 million checks released. And we are evaluating 22 more.)
Vergeire explained that the DOH administrative and finance department has tallied 53 deaths, although the official DOH count is just 40. She said this is because they still have to validate the deaths before adding them to the official list.
“For the severe and critical cases, we were able to release 36 checks amounting to P100,000 each,” Vergeire added.
She said they are also evaluating 53 more health workers who reportedly suffered from severe and critical cases of COVID-19.
Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, health workers who died due to COVID-19 are entitled to a P1-million compensation for their families, while those who are considered severe cases are given P100,000 each. While the law has already lapsed, a second version was already ratified by Congress.
The DOH has in the past removed cases in their tally upon learning that the individual was no longer working as a health worker at the time of death or did not suffer from COVID-19 based on medical records.
According to the DOH, as of August 26, there have been 6,735 health care workers infected with COVID-19. Of these, 6,070 (90.1%) have recovered, 40 (0.6%) have died and 625 (9.3%) were active cases.
“Of these active cases, 407 (65.1%) were mild cases, 213 were asymptomatic (34.1%), 3 (0.5%) in severe condition and 2 (0.3%) in critical condition,” the DOH said.
Of the 40 who died, 26 are doctors. This means 7 in 10 or 65% of the health workers who died are physicians. Asked why this is the case when more nurses were infected, Vergeire said it might be because the doctors had pre-existing conditions.
She did not say there is higher risk due to their profession.
“Most of those who died have commorbidities. So mayroon silang sakit sa puso, sakit sa bato. Ito ang commonly nakita natin sa doctors na namatay,” she said.
(Most of those who died have commorbidities. So they have heart ailments, kidney ailments. This is what we commonly saw among the doctors who died.)