Phl Orthopedic Center clarifies healthcare workers’ condition amid COVID-19

Maris Federez   •   July 29, 2020   •   275

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Orthopedic Center has clarified earlier reports that the hospital can no longer accommodate its own healthcare workers (HCW) who have contracted the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), now numbering to more than a hundred.

Contrary to an earlier report, the statement claiming that the hospital administration is now having difficulties finding quarantine facilities for the 80 HCWs who are active cases, came from a group of employees of the POC.

These employees also claimed that the 20 percent allocated beds at the hospital are not enough to accommodate the healthcare workers and other patients who are positive for COVID-19.

The POC administration’s official statement, however, said this information is untrue.

“This paragraph has two falsehoods, or at least one is a misperception and the other spouted wrong information claimed as true,” the statement said.

The statement further clarified that the POC is a tertiary hospital under the Department of Health (DOH) which “is ordered in this pandemic to accept and treat only severe and critical COVID-19 patients.”

It added that they would also immediately bring suspected COVID-19 patients to COVID-19 referral hospitals.

The DOH, on the other hand, is now conferring with the POC administration on which facilities will the mild and asymptomatic HCWs be sent.

Positive COVID-19 healthcare workers who are severely affected and are in critical condition may be admitted at the POC.

The DOH maintains that closing the POC or placing it under total lockdown is not an option as many patients will be affected. — (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

PUV drivers, establishment workers and vendors in Manila to get free swab testing

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers, market vendors and employees of various establishments in the Philippine capital will be provided with free RT-PCR tests, the Manila City government said Wednesday.

In a statement, the city’s public information office said Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso issued the order which will cover employees of malls, hotels, restaurants and supermarkets, and vendors in public markets as well as drivers of e-trikes, pedicabs, tricycles, jeepneys and buses operating in the city.

Under Domagoso’s Executive Order No. 39, the Manila Health Department was tasked to provide free swab tests to said workers.

The order follows the launch of Sta. Ana Hospital’s second molecular laboratory, which has the capacity to process around 1,000 tests daily. The additional laboratory will raise the hospital’s test processing capacity to 30,000 a month.

“The real threat of COVID-19 will continue to persist in our community, thereby sending fear to every person of getting infected with it. This fear will affect not only the individual preferences and behavior or every person, but also the economic growth (of the city),” Domagoso said.

“In order to allay the fear of getting infected with COVID-19, there is a need to assure the public that employees of these frequently visited establishments are COVID-19 free and thus spur economic activities,” he added.

Mayor Isko also directed the Manila Bureau of Permits and Licensing Office, the Department of Tourism, Culture and Arts of Manila, and the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau to “require establishments under their jurisdiction to require filling up mandatory health declaration forms for contact tracing purposes.”

Quezon City mayor cancels city hall parties, to donate funds

Robie de Guzman   •   September 29, 2020

Parties for all offices under the Quezon City government during the holidays will no longer be held this year amid the continuing novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said Tuesday.

A statement released on Tuesday said Belmonte has issued a memorandum directing all offices under the city hall to cancel parties scheduled in December and instead ordered them to donate the funds to underprivileged groups.

“The money that would have been spent on office Christmas parties would do more good as donations to the underprivileged during this extraordinarily difficult time in our nation’s history,” Belmonte said in a statement.

The local chief executive stressed that “it would be inappropriate for offices of the city government to hold customary Christmas parties while many of its citizens are experiencing hardships due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.”

Instead of holding parties, she urged city hall employees to adopt an underprivileged sector— such as the urban poor, displaced workers, jeepney drivers, street vendors, indigent children, and poor senior citizens— and to modestly celebrate the season in their homes.

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Batanes records first COVID-19 case

Robie de Guzman   •   September 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The province of Batanes on Tuesday said it has recorded its first case of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) since the start of the pandemic early this year.

According to Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco, the province reported its first COVID-19 case after a 29-year old resident who returned on Sept. 22 tested positive for the virus.

He has a travel history in Santa Rosa, Laguna. He returned to the province on board a Philippine Air Force plane with 18 others.

Cayco said the patient is asymptomatic and currently under isolation and monitoring of the provincial COVID-19 task force.

She added that all 18 individuals who had close contact with the patient have been subjected to swab test and are now strictly being monitored.

Batanes is currently under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) but the local government will recommend to place the province under a two-week GCQ to curb the spread of coronavirus disease.

Cayco said outpost checkpoints will also be set up in all municipalities to monitor and limit the movement of people.

Airport operations and commercial flights to and from the province will also be suspended.

“Medivac lang ang pwedeng pumunta dito in some emergency cases. Pero yung commercial flights pina-stop muna namin,” she said.

The local government reminds residents to follow health protocols such as the wearing of face masks and face shields and observe physical distancing. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dan Gersalia)

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