Coro­n­avirus count: 71 new cases, 7 more deaths in Phl

The Philippine Star - - FRONT PAGE - By MAYEN JAY­MA­LIN

Con­firmed coro­n­avirus dis­ease 2019 or COVID-19 cases in the coun­try jumped to 707 while the num­ber of fatal­i­ties rose to 45, the Department of Health (DOH) re­ported yes­ter­day.

Health Secretary Fran­cisco Duque III said 71 new cases pushed to 707 the to­tal num­ber of COVID cases and seven new deaths brought to 45 the num­ber of fatal­i­ties as of March 26.

A to­tal of 172 Filipinos from 25 coun­tries have tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19. Of the num­ber, Duque said the DOH was able to con­firm 128.

The DOH, he said, has also re­ceived in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing Filipino crew of Costa cruises who were be­ing tested

for pos­si­ble in­fec­tion.

Duque said COVID cases are ex­pected to fur­ther rise as more peo­ple are tested for the in­fec­tion.

“This is ac­tu­ally good be­cause we will be able to con­firm who are pos­i­tive for the in­fec­tion and al­low us to iso­late and treat them,” Duque pointed out.

Af­ter two more weeks of en­hanced com­mu­nity quar­an­tine, Duque said, the DOH would able to de­ter­mine whether the num­ber of COVID cases in the coun­try has al­ready flat­tened.

Ac­cord­ing to Duque, the DOH also recorded two more COVID pa­tients who re­cov­ered from the ill­ness.

“There are also two re­cov­er­ies, bring­ing to 28 the num­ber of pa­tients who re­cov­ered from COVID,” Duque dis­closed at the Lag­ing Handa vir­tual press brief­ing.

Based on DOH data, there are 722 per­son un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion (PUI) and 6,321 per­son un­der mon­i­tor­ing (PUM). All PUIs and PUMs are ad­vised to stay at home.

The ris­ing num­ber of re­cov­er­ies should stop the stigma against PUIs as well as health work­ers who, Duque stressed, should be hon­ored for serv­ing COVID pa­tients.

Duque said they have recorded six doc­tors who died from COVID-re­lated ill­nesses and the DOH is still gath­er­ing re­port from all hos­pi­tals across the coun­try to en­sure all health work­ers who suc­cumb to the dis­ease are given due recog­ni­tion and com­pen­sa­tion.

“Health work­ers who died of COVID will re­ceive from the govern­ment P1 mil­lion to help those they have left be­hind,” Duque dis­closed.

Those who would be in­fected would also be en­ti­tled to P100,000 as provided for un­der the newly signed Bayani­han to Heal as One Act.

For the pro­tec­tion of health work­ers, Duque said the DOH has al­ready dis­trib­uted personal pro­tec­tive equip­ment.

While he has com­pleted a 14-day quar­an­tine, Duque said he is still work­ing from home so he could re­cover from his cough due to asthma.

NKTI to ac­cept PUIs

As the health sys­tem strug­gles to con­tain the virus, the Na­tional Kid­ney and Trans­plant In­sti­tute (NKTI) said it is now ad­mit­ting PUIs, con­trary to an ear­lier an­nounce­ment.

The NKTI ear­lier ruled out ad­mit­ting PUIs, say­ing it is “deal­ing with highly im­munecom­pro­mised pa­tients” in­clud­ing trans­plant pa­tients. “How­ever, we are forced by cir­cum­stances to man­age PUIs” as COVID-19-des­ig­nated cen­ters Lung Cen­ter of the Philip­pines and the Re­search In­sti­tute for Trop­i­cal Medicine (RITM) “are also over­whelmed,” a state­ment from NKTI ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Rose Marie RoseteLi­quete said.

“Thus we took it into our hands to in­no­vate and strate­gize to man­age them, not in­side the hospi­tal but in tents out­side the hospi­tal ad­join­ing the emer­gency room,” she said.

She also ap­pealed to the pub­lic for do­na­tions of med­i­cal sup­plies, sur­gi­cal masks and al­co­hol.

Mean­while, some lo­cal govern­ment units re­leased their re­spec­tive COVID-19 tal­lies.

In San Juan City, COVID-19 deaths have reached eight. The num­ber of res­i­dents found pos­i­tive for COVID-19 rose to 57 yes­ter­day from 48 on Wed­nes­day, with Green­hills post­ing the high­est num­ber of cases at 18 fol­lowed by West Crame at 12.

Mayor Fran­cis Zamora ap­pealed to res­i­dents to stay at home to pre­vent COVID-19 from spread­ing.

“We all want to win this bat­tle vs COVID-19 and we will if we all do what it takes – stay home and keep safe,” he said in a state­ment.

One hun­dred two per­sons are clas­si­fied as PUIs and 222 are cat­e­go­rized as PUMs.

To ad­dress the short­age of fa­cil­i­ties for pa­tients, the city govern­ment has en­tered into an agree­ment with Xavier School alumni for the con­ver­sion of the San Juan Science High School into a quar­an­tine fa­cil­ity.

With a ca­pac­ity of 100 beds, Zamora said the school is ex­pected to ease the con­ges­tion in their med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties.

“Thank you very much to the en­tire Xavier School com­mu­nity for the sup­port that you will be giv­ing,” he said.

The pro­vin­cial health office of Zam­bales con­firmed that a re­tired US Navy man has tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19, the first case in the prov­ince.

In a re­port, Dr. Noel Bueno, Zam­bales pro­vin­cial Health of­fi­cer 2, said the pa­tient was a res­i­dent of Barangay San Gre­go­rio in the town of San An­to­nio.

He fre­quently trav­eled be­tween Cavite and Manila and re­turned to Zam­bales on March 15.

MICHAEL VARCAS

A rider gets red-flagged af­ter a ther­mal scan­ner showed a high tem­per­a­ture read­ing at the Cain­taMarik­ina bor­der check­point on Mar­cos High­way yes­ter­day.

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