CEBU CITY—At least 18 healthcare workers of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), prompting hospital management to temporarily close operating rooms (ORs) “for decontamination, infection prevention and control protocol”.
In an advisory, the VSMMC said the 18 healthcare workers were found to be COVID-19 positive during routine swabbing which was being done every two weeks.
The infected personnel included four doctors, seven nurses, two nursing attendants and five institutional workers.
“Out of these 18, eight are with mild symptoms and 10 are asymptomatic,” said VSMMC.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of the Department of Health Central Visayas, revealed that the infection started when a nurse reported for work despite not feeling well last December 28.
It was found out that the nurse assisted in surgery procedures at the OR of VSMMC.
Contact tracing efforts immediately commenced, particularly on some of the doctors who worked at the OR of VSSMC may have also went on duty in other hospitals in Metro Cebu.
Loreche said the incident should serve as a lesson that healthcare workers should be “more mindful and very, very careful.”
The operating rooms were closed starting last Tuesday, January 5, and will reopen on January 8.
With the closure, elective surgeries were suspended except for emergency surgeries that shall be accommodated through prioritization of patients’ policy, and implementation of strict infection prevention and control protocols.
“As part of the mitigating procedure, the management has been constantly reminding all the personnel to be mindful of our existing protocols. We have never wavered in our strict implementation of our infection prevention and control measures,” the VSMMC pointed out.