Placing Phl Orthopedic Center under lockdown, not an option — DOH

Maris Federez   •   July 28, 2020   •   162

MANILA, Philippines — The number of healthcare workers (HCW) at the Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC) who are infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now at 114, according to the hospital’s official statement.

The POC administration said 80 of these HCWs are active cases and the hospital is now having difficulties in finding quarantine facilities for them.

The POC added that the 20% allocated beds at the hospital are not enough to accommodate the healthcare workers and other patients who are positive for COVID-19.

However, the Department of Health (DOH) said that despite this situation, closing the hospital or placing it under total lockdown is not an option as many patients will be affected.

The DOH said they are still in talks as to which facilities will the mild and asymptomatic HCWs be sent.

Those who are positive can be admitted at the POC itself.

“We do this strategically. We close down units of the hospitals if needed kung talagang may mga highly infected employees dyan or ‘di kaya maraming nangyaring decontamination so that we can decontaminate. But not closing the whole hospital,” DOH spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, Vergeire said epidemiologic analysts believe that there are still no bases to declare that the country is already experiencing the second wave of COVID-19.

“As to the second wave nag-aaral tayo pero wala tayong nade-declare na ganito hindi parin nakikita yan na mayroon tayong ganyan. We will be continuing studying our situation,” the health official said.

She added the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is still yet to ascertain whether the National Capital Region (NCR) will be reverted to modified enhance community quarantine status.

“The other parameters that are being utilized by the IATF in deciding. So, we have the case doubling time, the mortality doubling time, we also have the critical care utilization rate. Aside from that, we have other indicators to consider the other sectors of society, like there are economic indicators, there are social indicators, and there are security indicators as well,” Vergeire said.

The President is expected to announce at the end of the month his decision as to which quarantine restrictions will be applied in key cities and provinces nationwide. — (with details from Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

Business owners in Manila reminded to sell face shields at a fair price

Robie de Guzman   •   August 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila City government has reminded business owners in the city not to take advantage of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic by selling essential goods and other products at higher prices.

The city’s bureau of permits issued the reminder on Tuesday following reports that some business owners are selling face shields at P100 a piece.

“I don’t think this is the time to take advantage of our public,” Manila’s Bureau of Permits Director Levi Facundo said in a statement.

“Nasa panahon po tayo ng pandemya, maraming nahihirapan. Alam kong apektado rin ang negosyo, pero apektado rin ang mamimili natin dahil sila’y nawalan rin ng trabaho, ng hanap-buhay,” he added.

While the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has not yet released an official suggested retail price (SRP) for face shields, Facundo said that its price should not go beyond P25.

He assured that once an official SRP has been set for face shields, the local government will strictly monitor the pricing of all businesses in the nation’s capital and warned to go after businesses that will be selling the item above its price cap.

He also advised consumers to take extra precaution in buying medical equipment online as they may be scammed.

“If you feel na ang isang nagbebenta ay hindi legit o kaya hindi nag-o-overprice, let us know. We will coordinate with DTI, we will send them show cause order, and pagpapaliwanagin natin,” Facundo said.

Healthcare workers involved in selling of blood plasma will face sanctions — DOH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 11, 2020

Health workers will face sanctions if it is proven that they are involved in the sale of convalescent plasma of COVID-19 survivors, the Department of Health (DOH) warned.

Investigation of the Health Department showed several hospital staff in Cebu City are involved in the illegal trade of blood plasma. The DOH said there are only four facilities authorized to collect plasma from COVID-19 survivors: The Philippine Blood Center, Philippine Red Cross in Port Area, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig and Quezon City, and UP-PGH in Manila.

Based on the DOH Administrative Order No. 36 Section 46, a medical professional proven to be involved in illegal activities could have his or her license revoked.

“Recommendation to revoke the certificate of registration or to suspend said certificate to practice the profession and to invalidate the professional license of any health professional involved in misrepresentation of facts or falsification of documents or records especially medical, laboratory or inspection results and certificates, or in violation of R.A. No. 7719 and the herein Rules, by the Professional Regulation Commission upon recommendation of the Secretary,” according to the administrative order.

DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire reminds the public that buying plasma from unauthorized individuals is dangerous due to lack of proper screening by health professionals.

“Maraming sakit pa na nata-transmit if we sell our blood lalo na iyon mga hindi na screen (There are a lot of diseases that can be transmitted if we sell our blood, especially when it is not screened),” she said. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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DOH reminds licensed laboratories to submit complete COVID-19 data

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 11, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) has reminded licensed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) laboratories to submit their data on the deadly virus.

Based on the report of the DOH, out of 100 licensed laboratories in the country, only 70% have submitted the requirements for COVID-19 data on time.

DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said they are looking into the possible consequences for COVID-19 laboratories that are not compliant with the data protocols.

“If they are not compliant there would be some form of warnings and maybe suspension pinag-aaralan naming maigi,” she said.

Vergeire explained that the Health Department and COVID-19 laboratories have data reconciliation every week to ensure there will be no duplicates in the total number of coronavirus disease cases in the country.

The report also states that there are 3,177 backlogs in COVID-19 laboratories that are up for validation. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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