TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) in Eastern Visayas has reported a total of 11 persons under investigation (PUIs), including a 7-month old infant for 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 n-CoV).
As of February 7, DOH informed a total of 11 PUIs, two of which have already been discharged for negative results of the virus and another one after the lapse of 14-day isolation. Eight persons under monitoring (PUMs) were also cleared after 14 days with no symptoms reported.
The three PUIs in Leyte were admitted and isolated on February 4 with travel history to Macau from December 23 to January 28 to visit a relative. They arrived in the city on January 29.
The 5th PUI, a 7-month old infant, had experienced an unproductive cough and fever when they consulted a private hospital on January 29.
His mother, the 6th PUI is a 26-year old Filipina who also developed a mild cough and sore throat on January 27 but currently has no more major complaints.
Her sister-in-law, the 7th PUI, also a 26-year old Filipina experienced mild cough on January 28 but is now asymptomatic.
The 8th PUI is a 38-year old Filipina who worked in Zhengzou Henan, China since 2017. He went home to Leyte for a vacation on February 2. On January 27, the patient who has a known history of asthma experienced difficulty in breathing and palpitation.
The 9th PUI is a 36-year old female American who is a resident of Shanghai, China. She traveled to Ormoc City on January 23 and sought medical attention the day after due to colds, occasional cough, and slight chest discomfort.
The 10th PUI is an 11-year old Filipina with travel history to Hongkong from January 16 to 20. She stayed in Tacloban on January 25 before going to her hometown the next day. She experienced fever on February 1 and sought consultation after two days.
The 11th PUI is a 31-year old Filipina who was a previous PUM. She is currently experiencing fever and dry cough.
DOH 8 regional director Minerva Molon said they already collected first and second samples from the PUIs that would be sent to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM).
Molon maintained that there is still no confirmed coronavirus cases in the region contrary to information spreading on social media.
Dr. Carmen Garado, chief of Local Health Support Division, has attributed the increase of PUIs in the region to their proactive surveillance system and increased health-seeking behavior of the public.
“Even those who are asymptomatic call our hotline as long as they have travel history to areas that have confirmed n-CoV cases,” she shared.
Meanwhile, Police Regional Office 8 Deputy Regional Director for Operations PCol. Arthur Cabalona said Eastern Visayas Police has activated a quick response team ready to assist in the tracing of persons who had close contact with the persons under investigation (PUIs) for novel coronavirus (2019 n-CoV).
In the city of Ormoc, on the one hand, government officials are focused on prevention. An emergency meeting was held on February 6, 2020 led by the city’s health committee chairman, Councilor Gerry Penserga, together with staff from its City Health Office, Dr. Edmund Kierulf and Nurse Elsie S. Jaca, and school heads.
During the meeting, the city’s Local Health Board asked that all public and private schools in Ormoc with nurses should help in the fight against the possible entry or spread of the coronavirus among school children.
In addition, the board also advised, pursuant to a DepEd memorandum, that all school activities that will create a large crowd for the students should be cancelled; school nurses and teachers should strictly monitor students by using an infrared thermometer and to use the Decision Tool for CoronaVirus assessment provided by the DOH for Bureau of Quarantine and Hospitals; disseminate the proper way and required usage of surgical mask; gather a PTA meeting for lectures on preventing the spread of diseases and how to do proper hand washing.
In addition, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), in collaboration with the City Government of Ormoc thru the City Health Department and the Liga ng mga Barangay Ormoc Chapter, also conducted to all 110 barangays in Ormoc a Briefing and Reactivation of the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) on February 7, 2020. The teams’ main responsibility, as required by the Bureau of Immigration, is to record arriving persons from coronavirus-affected countries who are residents of the barangay and shall monitor them if they are complying the required 14-day home confinement. Finally, everyone is to refrain from sharing and posting of any misleading information on social media, unless posts are from the DOH and WHO. By Marie Tonette Marticio and Mary Ann Reusora