COVID-19 threat looms over Fabella Hospital with 11 staff positive
This photo shows Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila.
Wikimedia Commons via JoRitchChT (Wikipedia Takes Manila participant)
COVID-19 threat looms over Fabella Hospital with 11 staff positive
Christian Deiparine ( - October 25, 2020 - 3:34pm

MANILA, Philippines — Coronavirus tests done on the staff of the Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila have revealed that 11 of its personnel turned out positive for the virus, threatening the operations of the biggest maternal facility in the country. 

Philippine Red Cross chairman and Sen. Richard Gordon on October 23 said Fabella's medical chief Dr. Esmeraldo Ilem had asked the organization for swab tests for the hospital's 180 staff after seven doctors initially tested positive for COVID-19. 

It was despite Red Cross halting its coronavirus tests funded by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. over its P930 million debt, a move that has halted the screening of samples from OFWs and medical workers, to name a few. 

The organization over DZMM's Teleradyo on Sunday reported that four more Fabella personnel had contracted the COVID-19 after it agreed to conduct the tests which they said could have affected the operations of the facility if it had not been done. 

"Kailangan i-test nila lahat ng empleyado na nakasalamuha nung 7 na nag-positive kasi kung hindi nila ite-test 'yun, ia-isolate lahat 'yun at titigil 'yung operations ng Fabella hospital," said Dr. Paulyn Ubial, a former health secretary who now heads Red Cross' molecular laboratories.

(Those who came in contact with the initial seven who tested positive had to be tested otherwise they would have to be isolated and it would have caused the operations of the Fabella to stop.) 

A halt in Fabella's operations would be a huge hit, Ubial added, as some 180 to 200 babies are born at the hospital every day. But despite this, Ilem sought to assure that the facility would not turn away patients especially those with imminent delivery. Some 600 mothers are also currently admitted and would continue to receive care. 

He added that staff at the Fabella hospital felt relieved after getting the results of their tests, with many still under quarantine and not showing symptoms for COVID-19 as the hospital undergo disinfection.

PhilHealth has vowed to settle its debt by Monday, October 26, as officials scrambled to rescue the embattled state insurer from the millions in overdue amounts that had caused the country's COVID-19 testing capacity to plunge.

"Bakit nababayaran nila 'yung hotel pero 'yung mga test hindi nila mabayaran? Samantalang 'pag binayaran nila 'yung mga test hindi na tayo kailangan mag-hotel," Gordon said as he took a swipe at the agency's officials. "Nahihilo na ako diyan sa mga taga-PhilHealth dahil tila walang malasakit sa bayan 'yang mga 'yan."

(How come they can pay for OFWs in hotels but they can't do it for tests? If only you paid for the tests there would be no need to stay in hotels. I could no longer understand PhilHealth officials because it seems as if they don't have compassion for the country.)

Red Cross, a private-run humanitarian organization, has been leading the number of coronavirus tests done in the country at over a million, out of the more than four million tested individuals in total. It has more screenings done compared with those run by government-owned laboratories. 

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 10, 2020 - 2:55pm

Follow this thread for updates on COVID-19 risk levels, safety measures, and data from Metro Manila's local government units.

Photo: The STAR/Michael Varcas

November 10, 2020 - 2:55pm

The STAR reports Metro Manila's mayors have agreed to ban caroling in their jurisdictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority general manager Jojo Garcia, the proposal will be forwarded to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease. 

October 28, 2020 - 9:40am

"All of the OVP staff who were exposed last week tested negative," Vice President Leni Robredo announces on her Twitter account. 

"Thank God!! All the activities today and the succeeding days will proceed as scheduled. Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. They are very much appreciated," she also says.

Robredo said last Saturday that she would go into self-isolation after finding out she had "very close contact" with a COVID-19 patient.

"Following protocols, we decided to do self quarantine beginning Friday until we get a swab test," she said then.

October 27, 2020 - 8:21am

A recording of President Rodrigo Duterte's meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease will be aired at 8 a.m., according to an advisory from the Palace late Monday night.

Duterte is expected to announce new quarantine classifications for November.

October 23, 2020 - 7:38am

The Manila city government and Quiapo Church have agreed to cancel the grand procession of the image of the Black Nazarene in January 2021 in light of the pandemic.

It is the first time that the procession for the image of the Black Nazarene, where millions of barefoot devotees take part yearly.

Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso says in a statement that public health protocol must prevail over religious traditions because of the threat posed by COVID-19. 

"Nakikisuyo po ako, iwasan po muna natin ang mga parada at prusisyon ngayong may pandemya dulot ng sakit na COVID-19. Maaari pong mapahamak ang ating mga deboto, mailagay sila sa alanganin," Domagoso says.

(I am asking that we avoid parades and processions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our devotees might get sick, they will be at risk) 

October 19, 2020 - 8:55am

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno will raise the capacity at churches and other places of worship to 30% from 10% of seating capacity.

Moreno says in a report by Super Radyo dzBB, the increased seating capacity "on the premise that the leaders of the chruch will continue to practice simple protocol under the IATF rules."

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