By Shirley Matias Pizarro
BALANGA, BATAAN — Twelve health workers, seven of them doctors, were confirmed as the latest coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Bataan, bringing to 36 the total number of confirmed cases in the province so far.
According to Dr. Rosanna Buccahan, chief of the Bataan Provincial Health Office (PHO), the new cases included doctors, nurses and nurse attendants who were reportedly exposed to a severe case of patient under investigation (PUI) early on in the ongoing crisis. That PUI died even before her test COVID-19 results came back.
The afflicted health workers were from the towns of Hermosa, Orani, Orion, Limay, while seven of them were from Balanga City. They are now undergoing treatment and medication in three different hospitals in Bataan and Subic.
Meanwhile, there are now 10 COVID-19 recoveries in Bataan. These included the three a 72-year old male from Orion, and a 23-year old female and 56-year old female, both from Limay.
All 10 recoveries are now undergoing the mandatory 14-day Post-Discharge Quarantine at a facility dedicated by the PHO for close monitoring. They are set to be tested again at the end of the quarantine period before they can be released.
As of Sunday, April 12, Bataan has listed 2,622 persons under monitoring (PUMs), 824 mild PUIs, and 221 moderate to severe PUIs.
In line with this, the provincial government has levelled up its efforts to curb the rising COVID-19 statistics in Bataan by applying for accreditation of the Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) to become an extension testing facility for COVID-19 patients in Bataan.
Buccahan believes that the accreditation, which could be granted jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO), Department of Health (DOH) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), will be a major step to fight the pandemic that has so far created havoc in the world.
He said, “the situation now is that it takes time for patients to get tested. The backlog of the few accredited hospitals, which unfortunately are located outside of Bataan, is tremendous. If we will have our own testing facility right here in the province, then it will be a really big help. That will make it easier for us to determine who are infected, isolate them immediately and give them the appropriate treatment and medication fast.This will complement everything that we are doing here in Bataan to slow down the virus, deprive it of hosts and ultimately ‘flatten the curve’.”
BGHMC chief Dr. Glory Baltazar said they have already submitted the application for Stage 1 accreditation on the self-assessment tool provided by RITM, the country’s main referral hospital for COVID-19, pertaining to the following — access to the laboratory, design of the laboratory, use of laboratory safety equipment, administrative control and management, records and documentation and personnel practices and training.
Bataan Gov. Albert S. Garcia also revealed that the province has already procured 8,000 confirmatory test kits, as well as 2,000 rapid testing kits that will aid the health workers in their job.
He added: “BGHMC’s testing laboratory will for the exclusive use of Bataenos, funded by the provincial government of Bataan, operated and managed by BGHMC and DOH, with the help of health workers from the provincial, municipal and rural health offices of the province.”
“We are serious in our efforts to defeat this virus. We are doing everything we can, with the resources available to us, to make sure that all of us in Bataan will see the day when this pandemic ends. I’m praying that that day will come sooner. In the meantime, I urge the public to keep their hopes and their spirits up. Let us all be united in this fight and by God’s grace, we will stand together victorious,” he added.