Test symptomatic patients first, ex-DOH chief urges

Published March 20, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ellson Quismorio 

Former Department of Health (DOH) secretary and now Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Loreto-Garin has reiterated the pressing need to prioritize symptomatic patients for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing.

Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin Speaks before the Blue Ribbon joint with Health and Demography of questionable dengue vaccines that had been administered by the DOH to 280,000 students without passing through WHO prequalification requirements in Pasay city,December 11,2017(Czar Dancel)
Iloilo 1st district Rep. Janette Loreto Garin

“With COVID-19, infectivity is directly related to severity. Mas malala ang sintomas, mas makakahawa (The worse the symptoms, the more infectious it is),” Garin said in a statement early Friday.

Garin acknowledged that there are now a lot of Filipinos — both those manifesting symptoms and not — who want to get tested for the deadly illness.

“Nananawagan po tayo sa ating mga kababayan na bigyang prayoridad ang mga nagpapakita ng malinaw na sintomas. Tumataas ang bilang ng mga Pilipinong nagiging positibo at nararapat lang na unahin nating maipa-test ang mga mas nangangailangan nito (I appeal to our countrymen to give priority to those showing clear symptoms. The number of Filipinos turning positive are growing, so those who need it the most should be prioritized for testing),” said the House Senior Deputy Minority Leader.

Garin said 80 percent of those who will get sick will have mild symptoms “and will be self-limiting.”

“However, 20 percent will have moderate to severe symptoms, 2 percent of which can progress to a ‘very bad’ situation. These 20 percent needs our help and understanding. Sila ang dapat ma-diagnose ng agaran (They are the ones who should be diagnosed immediately),” she stressed.

She described COVID-19 as an illness “where time is of the essence and [being] fast means saving lives.”

“If we prioritize symptomatic patients, mas maaga nating makikilala ang mga pasyenteng positibo. Mas maaga ding magagawa ng DOH at DILG ang contact tracing (we can identify positive patients early. This will allow DOH and DILG to conduct contact tracing early). Direct contacts of COVID patients can isolate themselves and reduce transmission to others,” Garin explained.

From a single digit earlier this month, COVID-19 cases in the country has now breached the 200-mark. At least 17 deaths have been recorded by the Department of Health.

“Madami sa ating kababayan ang kinakabahan at ito po ay normal na reaction. Pero mas dapat tayo kabahan kung yung mga pasyenteng may COVID at nasa ospital na ay patuloy na makapanghawa dahil one week na, wala pa ring resulta ang test niya (At lot of our people are fearful and this is a normal reaction. But we should be more fearful if the COVID patients in hospitals continue to transmit the disease because their test results haven’t come back yet),” Garin said.