By Analou De Vera
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to increase, with 13 new cases reported Saturday night that raised the number of patients to 111, the Department of Health (DOH) disclosed.
The DOH said they recorded additional cases “upon complete validation of laboratory results confirmed on March 13, 2020.”
No other details on the 13 new cases were disclosed by the DOH.
“Information of the new cases is currently being validated and will be released to the public as soon as it is available. All are enjoined to source out information through the Department’s official channels,” the DOH said.
During a live broadcast on Saturday afternoon, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire urged the public to follow the advice of health authorities and be prepared amid the threat of COVID-19.
“Our frontline health workers and medical personnel are risking their safety to respond to the needs of the public, all we ask is for you to do your part: practice preventive measures, go on strict home quarantine if you are experiencing mild symptoms, and help halt the spread of fake news,” said Vergeire.
“The DOH earnestly asks for everyone’s cooperation…The success of our measures to contain COVID-19 is hinged on your participation… At this most trying time, our strongest weapon as a nation is vigilance, preparedness, and solidarity,” she added.
Health workers expose to COVID-19
Vergeire reported that the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) in Quezon City is limiting its services after several health personnel were exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case.
The health personnel of PHC was exposed to Patient 37, who was an 88-year-old Filipina from Pasig City. The patient died last Thursday with acute respiratory failure as the cause of death.
“Prior to the confirmation of the PH37’s diagnosis, healthcare workers were managing the case as a non-communicable case and were unable to wear the required personal protective equipment,” said Vergeire.
Vergeire said that the PHC has 13 patients under investigation (PUIs), including 12 health workers and one non-health person.
“As of now, PHC is limiting its hospital operations to accommodate in-patient and emergency cases only. Services in the Outpatient Department were temporarily stopped last March 11 and are expected to reopen on March 16. The Catheterization Laboratory where PH37 had her procedure was also closed and disinfected,” said Vergeire.
The Health official added that they received reports that “several health workers” at the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City were also exposed to the novel coronavirus—now named as SARS-CoV-2
“DOH is still verifying data on the exact figures and the updated conditions of the health workers,” said Vergeire.