Technology hands emotional lifeline to coronavirus patients seeking contact with relatives

UNTV News   •   April 8, 2020   •   481

For patients recovering from the coronavirus in hospital, one aspect is the most heartbreaking: being unable to go through the suffering without a loved one by their side.

But now medical staff are using technology to try to make things a little easier, with video calls on tablets to bring patients into contact with their worried relatives stuck outside.

In the Cernusco sul Naviglio hospital near Milan known as ‘Uboldo hospital’, medical workers wearing full protective gear hold the tablet for the bedridden patients as they hold treasured – but brief – conversations with their families.

A necessary measure to contain the spread of the highly contagious deadly virus is that relatives and friends of patients are not allowed to visit. Normally, the most contact they get is an occasional conversation over a scratchy cell phone line.

But even the novelty of a video call doesn’t make up for the relief a patient feels seeing the face and feeling the embrace of a loved one in person.

“Video calls are obviously short because there is so much to do. These calls are a bit cold because there is no real contact between people when they talk, so obviously everything is more difficult,” the hospital’s chief anaesthetist Massimo Zambon told Reuters.

“From a psychological point of view, this certainly is the worst aspect of this emergency,” he said.

One male patient couldn’t stop smiling as his relatives waved and blew virtual kisses to him through the tablet.

As soon as the conversation ends, though, the medical team attach his oxygen mask back on again, and he continues to fight the virus alone.

Around 90 percent of patients at the Cernusco sul Naviglio hospital are suffering from the novel coronavirus. Since the crisis began, they’ve had to triple the number of beds to try and cope with the outbreak.

The hospital is east of Milan in Lombardy, the Italian region hardest hit by the coronavirus epidemic.

A total of 17,127 people have died from the virus in Italy so far, the most anywhere in the world, with Lombardy accounting for 55 percent of the tally. The region also accounts for 39% of the country’s 135,586 confirmed cases.

The hospital – a much smaller one compared to other larger, overwhelmed hospitals in the region – was donated sets of tablets by private donors, citizens and local authorities.

So far, they have been a great success.

“Right now this is the only possible solution, the easiest and most effective way to create contact between the patient and the family,” Zambon said.

The particularly large death toll in Lombardy, the wealthiest region in Italy, has raised eyebrows, with local officials suggesting that both the high urban density and considerable elderly population might have played a part.

Although the elderly have been the biggest victims of the deadly virus, one 69-year-old woman at the hospital waiting to hear if the results of her swab defied any underlying fear as she jovially spoke to her family through a protective mask – on the tablet.

She will be turning 70 on April 24, and has her fingers crossed that she’ll be out by then.

In the hell of the crisis, she told her relatives she had found angels – the medical worker heroes who risk their health everyday, even for a short video call.

“They are angels,” she told her family. “If it was not for them…the sacrifices they make!” (Reuters)

(Production: Alex Fraser, Cristiano Corvino, Fabiano Franchitti, Emily Roe)

Mega Quarantine Center for COVID-19 opens in Metro Manila

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 30, 2020

The biggest mega quarantine facility in Metro Manila at the Bagong Nayong Pilipino in Parañaque City opened on Tuesday (September 29).

According to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Solaire-PAGCOR Mega Quarantine Center can accommodate 525 bed capacity.

525-BED CAPACITY SOLAIRE-PAGCOR QUARANTINE CENTER OPENSPublic Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar and…

Posted by Department of Public Works and Highways on Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The DPWH said they will continue to expand isolation capacity to address the dearth of facilities from over the past months especially with Metro Manila still recording the highest daily number of cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.

Meanwhile, the DPWH is working on the implementation of a total of 603 isolation/quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients/suspects nationwide with a total of 21,609-bed capacity, as well as 75 off-site dormitories for medical workers with 1,806-bed capacity. -AAC

8 out of 10 Filipinos follow COVID-19 health protocols—SWS Survey

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 30, 2020

Majority of Filipinos continue to follow minimum health standards for COVID-19 prevention, according to the recent survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Based on the SWS September 17-20 National Mobile Phone Survey, 79 percent of adult Filipinos always use a face mask when going out of their houses, 67 percent always wash their hands several times a day, while 60 percent always keep physical distance when outside their homes, and 56 percent always use a face shield whenever riding public transportation or going to establishments.

“The proportion of those who always practice Covid-19 prevention measures rose slightly for using a face mask, from 76% in July 2020 to 79% in September 2020. It was at 77% in May 2020. It hardly changed for washing hands, moving from 65% in July 2020 to 67% in September 2020. It was at 68% in May 2020,” the SWS survey stated.

The mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interview had 1,249 respondents across the country. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Provincial buses sa PITX, hindi bumiyahe sa kabila ng pagbubukas ng mga ruta

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi pumasada ang ilang provincial bus units na naka-terminal sa Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) kahit binuksan na ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ang 12 ruta para sa mga pampasaherong bus.

Ayon sa Provincial Bus Operators Association, nakikipag-pulong pa sila sa LTFRB at sa terminal operators dahil sa anila’y hindi pa malinaw na sistema, partikular na sa bayan ng Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

Ayon kay Alex Yague, ang pinuno ng grupo, nagbago ng mga kondisyon ang lokal na pamahalaan ng Sta. Cruz hinggil sa pagbiyahe ng mga pampasaherong bus kaya’t kailangan pa itong muling pag-usapan, partikular na ang isyu sa hatian ng 150 pasahero na papayagang pumasok sa loob ng isang araw.

Nais ring klaruhin ng provincial bus operators ang pag-oobliga sa kanilang mga unit na dumaan sa Skyway at NAIA Expressway upang makarating sa PITX.

Ayon kay Yague, panibagong gastusin ito para sa mga operator gayong limitado lang ang maaari nilang isakay na pasahero.

“As of today, hindi pa handa. Kapag na-klaro na yung tungkol sa pasahero, yung requirements ng travel pass at magkakaroon ng unawaan sa Central termjnal management within the next fee day, ma-iron out natin ang problema,” ang wika ni Yague.

Sa panig naman ng PITX, tiniyak ng pamunuan nito na handa ang terminal sakaling bumiyahe na ang provincial buses.

“Kami po ay handa, ready po kami tumanggap ngunit nakikipag-ugnayan pa rin tayo dito sa mga bus operators upang siguraduhin kung ano yung mga kinakailangan sa pagbiyahe dito,” ang pahayag ni Jayson Salvador, ang manager ng PITX.

Sinabi rin ni Salvador na makikipag-ugnayan sila sa National Capital Region Police Office para sa pagtatalaga ng mga pulis sa terminal para sa mas madaling proseso ng pagkuha ng travel pass ng mga pasahero. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)


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