CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The first COVID-19 patient of Mindanao has been confined at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) here since March 3 but was just confirmed as positive of the disease by the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday, March 11.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
DoH Northern Mindanao (Region 10) Director Adriano Suba-an said that the patient was a 54-year-old male who was a resident of Pasig City since 2017 and went back here to return to his home in Lanao del Sur.
Suba-an said that the patient decided to come home to seek treatment here which resulted in his confinement in a hospital in Iligan City.
"His symptoms started last February 24, 2020 and was admitted at a hospital in lligan City last March 3, 2020 for pneumonia. He was subsequently referred to Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) on March 8, 2020. Specimens were taken and sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). On March 11, 2020, the result was confirmed to be positive for SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of Coronavirus Disease - 2019 (COVID-19)," Suba-an said.
Suba-an said that the patient was being monitored by infectious diseases specialists according to the latest WHO Guidelines.
"The DOH is conducting contact tracing and heightened disease surveillance through the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) in the community and through Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) surveillance in the hospital," Suba-an said.
Dr. Jose Chan, NMMC Chief of Hospital said: "This is a viral infection so the usual protocol for treating viral infection are observed, for now it is about supportive (medicine)."
Chan said that the patient is being supported by ventilator since he was complaining of shortness of breath.
Chan said that the patient may have contracted the virus in Pasig City where he lived since 2017.
Suba-an said, the patient "has no history of travel abroad, maybe transmitted locally in the National Capital Region where he works before," Suba-an said.
"When he came home, he was immediately brought to the hospital and isolated accordingly and referred also to NMMC to be properly managed as well," Suba-an added.
Suba-an added that the country cannot afford to have a 2nd generation of local transmission.
"We are preparing other areas in Region 10 as well for what could possibly happen," Suba-an said.
"What we are avoiding is people to start overcrowding hospital because they want medical consultation or laboratory test. Let's simplify, if you have symptoms like fever, cough, or diarrhea, but you have no exposure or travel to places with the virus, do not go to NMMC, seek consultation to your regular physician," Suba-an said.
"Now if you have no symptoms but you have travel history to those with confirmed case, now do not go to the ER of NMMC, do self quarantine," Suba-an added.
"Now if you started feeling something and you have exposure, then that's the time you really have to go to the ER to seek consultation and laboratory testing, so we can prioritize and triage who are our priority," Suba-an said.
Suba-an said reminded the public that virus is transmitted through droplets and not airborne. "We enjoin the public to continue practicing handwashing regularly, avoid crowds and wild animals, never cough without a handkerchief or tissue, wear a mask if you are sick or in healthcare settings, seek early consultation. – Rappler.com