By Nino Luces
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay – The top official of the Department of Health (DOH) regional office here reiterated that there is no confirmed case of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or patients under investigation (PUIs) in Albay as of February 7, 2020.
DOH Bicol Regional Director Dr. Ernie Vera, in a press conference held Saturday afternoon, said that based on the latest 2019-case tracker of DOH Central there are no confirmed cases or PUIs due to nCoV at Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) – the hospital where three patients are reportedly being closely monitored by health authorities.
However, two patients admitted at the BRTTH ware under observation, Vera said.
Vera pointed out that official statement will come from central office if the patients admitted are PUIs or positive for nCoV.
Dr. Annalynda Bellen, BRTTH Infectious Disease Specialist, confirmed that patients are on stable condition after suffering symptoms of pneumonia.
She said the patients have history of travel from China and suffered breathing difficulties following their arrival in Bicol.
“Yung dalawang patients natin na inoobserbahan sa BRTTH, so far okey naman sila ngayon. Nung in-admit sila nahirapan huminga pero as of now stable na po sila and occasional na lang yung ubo nila (The two patients under observation at BRTTH are in good condition. When they were admitted, they had difficulty breathing. While they occasionally cough, they are now in stable condition),” Bellen said.
According to health officials, respiratory samples were already sent to Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and the result will be out after 48 hours upon the receipt.
“So pag natanggap na ng RITM ang samples today, possibly sa Lunes malalaman na natin kung yung pasyente ay PUI o kaya positive aa 2019 nCoV (If RITM received the samples today, the results will likely be out on Monday),” he added.
Meanwhile, Vera appealed to the public to stop spreading misinformation, stressing that updates on nCoV cases will only be announced by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
“We have protocol being followed so let’s wait for the central office to announce it,” Vera said.
On the other hand, the province of Albay has already purchased four thermal scanners that will be installed at bus terminals, airports, malls, schools, and other crowded areas.
Danny Garcia, Albay governor’s spokesman, said the governor already did the purchase and they are expecting it next week.
“Hopefully dumating na next week para makapagtrain na rin yung in charge sa gagamit nito (Hopefully they will be delivered next week so those in charge can start training),” he said.