By Minerva Newman
CEBU CITY — For the first round of testing, two female American tourists aged 23 and 24 years old, and a 31-year-old Chinese woman tourist, who were considered as patients under investigation (PUIs) in Bohol, have tested negative for the novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (nCoV ARD).
“But we are still waiting for the confirmatory result of the examination of the second (set of) samples also conducted by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila,” according to Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez, spokesperson of Bohol’s inter-agency, multi-sectoral Technical Working Group (TWG) on Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases
Lopez announced this in a press briefing at the provincial capitol Friday morning, following the arrival of the results of the laboratory test on the first swab samples taken from the two PUIs who have been kept in a government hospital’s isolation ward. The physician handling the PUIs is now considering the patients for discharge.
On Friday, February 7 the 31-year-old Chinese woman tourist was discharged from a hospital here for also testing negative for nCoV.
As such, there are still seven PUIs in Bohol, to include the two American tourists.
The other PUIs are the three nurses who attended to the nCoV-positive 60-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan, China, and the remaining two are a crewmember and passenger of a fastcraft which the same Chinese woman took in her trip from Cebu to Bohol.
The two Americans were tourists who travelled to Beijing, China from the USA and then to Coron and El Nido in Palawan before proceeding to Bohol.
Because of their history of contact with the nCoV-positive 60-year-old woman, the three nurses were treated as PUIs based on the Department of Health protocol, and placed in private hospital isolation for proper case management, Lopez said
The ship crew and passenger had themselves assessed in a government hospital for cough in response to the contact-tracing call of the government health authorities. The two American PUIs are confined in isolation also at a government hospital.
Lopez further clarified that PUIs are not yet considered nCoV cases, much less a confirmed case. A person is treated as a PUI if he/she has previous direct contact with a confirmed nCoV case, has come from China, or has passed through China before arriving to the Philippines.
Lopez added that their contact-tracing of the workers of a Panglao hotel where the Chinese woman checked in and of the driver of the van that transported her to the hospital yielded symptom-negative.
According to Lopez Bohol Governor Arthur Yap advised the TWG to closely coordinate with the Bohol Association of Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants (BAHRR) in applying anti-nCoV recommendations for guests.
Meanwhile, Silliman University dormitory resident and roommates now cleared
Silliman University received information on February 3, that one of its dormitory residents was on the same flight with the two confirmed cases of the 2019-nCoV last January 21, 2020.
The dormitory resident was examined by the DOH/Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), and was placed in self-isolation within the University premises even as the dormitory resident never manifested symptoms of the 2019-nCoV.
University staff immediately brought the dormitory resident and the roommates to the hospital for medical assessment consistent with DOH protocol. Self-isolation with monitoring was observed for these students.
They have been cleared by the DOH/IPHO by the DOH/IPHO of Negros Oriental.