DOH says patient is âalready recoveringâ: First COVID case in Cebu
The patient was tested on March 11 but the result of the test came out only yesterday. The man was already considered a person under investigation (PUI) when he was admitted to the hospital early this month. The patient did not travel outside the country but went to different cities in Mindanao and Manila.
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DOH says patient is ‘already recovering’: First COVID case in Cebu
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - March 19, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed the first positive case of the coronavirus in Mandaue City, Cebu but the agency’s head in Region 7 said yesterday the patient, a 65-year-old man, is actually recovering.

"The good news is the patient is already recovering. He is about to be discharged. Hopefully, he can share his experience with us," said DOH-7 Director Jaime Bernadas said yesterday.

The patient was tested on March 11 but the result of the test came out only yesterday. The man was already considered a person under investigation (PUI) when he was admitted to the hospital early this month. The patient did not travel outside the country but went to different cities in Mindanao and Manila.

Bernadas says DOH-7 will conduct a second test but based on recent information, the patient is reportedly “asymptomatic, he is already up and about.”

He said that since it is part of the protocol on PUIs, authorities should already have information about the patient’s family and the people he may have come in contact with when the man became a PUI.

Bernadas said the local government executives will have the last say on other measures as far as movement of people is concerned but he advised the public to follow recommended protocol.

"The situation is still the same. You still have to follow the same protocol. The same social distance. The same isolation if you have problems. The same containment measures," he said.

It was not immediately known if the person is a resident of Mandaue City or was just confined in one of the hospitals there.

Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes said he immediately convened a meeting with the Incident Command Team upon receiving the report.

"Akong gimandoan ang atong mga opisyales nga padayonon ang pag strikto sa atong curfew ug mga protocol sa social distancing hasta na sa hygiene ug sanitation (I have instructed our officials to strictly implement our curfew, social distancing protocol, and hygiene and sanitation initiatives)," Cortes wrote on Facebook.

He urged residents of the city to cooperate and follow the protocols.

Stricter Mobility Controls

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, meanwhile, said the public can expect "stricter controls on mobility," which she will announce on Friday, March 20. 

She said among the things to consider are the severity of the situation along with the economic implications should the province decide to establish generalized community quarantine like what is being implemented in Metro Manila.

She added that the guidelines were "very rational and logical", however it is important know when it shall be implemented.

"On the other hand, we should learn from the Manila experience how and when this should be implemented," Garcia said.

She called on the public to do their part in helping contain the spread – to stay home if there is no crucial need to go out, especially that the province does not have enough facilities to cater to a great number of COVID-19 patients.

"Dili igo ang atong mga pasilidad kung kini mahimo nga usa ka epidemic," Garcia said.

"This virus can be overcome but only if there is a minimum of movement," she added.

Garcia, being the chairperson of the Province's COVID-19 Inter-agency Task Force, directed for a closer coordination among the Department of Health (DOH), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the military.

For one, she said, contact-tracing is not the job of doctors but that of intelligence networks.

"Kanang pag-trace, that's an added burden on them (doctors) kay nag-atubang na gud sila aning ilang mga ayuhonon (Tracing is an added for them because they are already dealing with patients that they need to treat)," she said.

With the development, she said the police and the military will enforce strictly social distancing at public utility vehicles.

Local government units have been urged to cancel all social gatherings, including sports activities.

Cebu City

In Cebu City, health officer Daisy Villa disclosed that the city is still COVID-19 free.

She said they received the result of the tests on five other samples on Tuesday and all tested negative for COVID-19. The five are among the 65 swab samples sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila.

As far as Cebu City is concerned, a total of 15 swab samples sent to RITM tested negative for COVID-19, but the results for the remaining 50 are still pending.

As of midday yesterday, DOH has reported 202 positive COVID-19 cases in the country with 15 new cases.  JMO (FREEMAN)

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