By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – Five health workers, two of them frontliners at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), have tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), SPMC Chief of Hospital Leopoldo Vega confirmed on Tuesday.
“A doctor and another nurse tested positive for COVID-19 in SPMC because they broke the protocol. When they resuscitated a patient in the emergency room, they did not put on the necessary PPE (personal protective equipment),” Vega said during a virtual presser over PIA Davao Region’s Facebook page on Tuesday.
Vega said the three non-SPMC health workers, all of them doctors of a private hospital here, reportedly acquired the coronavirus from a patient who they assisted in transferring to SPMC, one of the two hospitals recognized by the Department of Health-Davao to accommodate COVID-19 positive patients, aside from Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum City.
“COVID-19 can be anywhere. If you are a hospital worker, the great risk of getting COVID-19 is always there. So, three of those health workers who tested positive for COVID-19 are not from SPMC,” he said.
He said frontline health workers have been instructed to observe extra precaution in dealing with patients who are confined at their hospital for being classified as persons under investigation (PUIs).
Vega said all frontline health workers were required to be in full protective gear every time they deal with PUIs who were “presumed” to have acquired the infection, “so that if there is a chance that the patient is positive, at least you have the protection.”
“Don’t break the protocols, follow the protocols. Look at patients as if all patients are all infected,” he added.
Failure to follow the protocols may expose health workers to a greater risk of acquiring the infection, he said.
“The mindset before was, ‘maybe the patients don’t have the infection yet.’ Right now, we have changed the mindset of everybody there. All of the people that come around patients, the mindset should be ‘we’re all infected,’ so we get the necessary PPEs when you resuscitate in the ER,” he said.
Vega said the hospitals were always making sure that they provide support for the health workers such as necessary resources, including PPEs, food, and lodging.
He added they also subject frontliners to testing to “give them confidence that they are COVID-19 negative.”
“If COVID positive, you have no chance of contaminating others. All of frontline health workers must be tested to make sure nobody is ‘handicapped,” he said.