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DOH bares 10 more coronavirus cases; PH tally rises to 20

/ 04:47 PM March 09, 2020

Update

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed 10 additional cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country, bringing the latest tally to 20.

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Data from the health agency showed that the 10 new cases are all Filipinos – some with recent travels in virus-hit countries, some had exposures to known COVID-19 infected cases while some neither have a history of travel in virus-stricken places nor contact with COVID-19 patients.

“DOH reported 10 more coronavirus cases on top of four new cases announced yesterday. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 20,” DOH Assistant Secretary on public health services Ma. Rosario Vergeire announced in a press briefing on Monday afternoon.

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READ:10 new coronavirus patients are all Filipinos – DOH

Vergeire said results of the tests carried out on samples taken from patients from March 6 to 8 were released Monday and that the DOH Epidemiology Bureau has already started tracing all individuals who might have closely interacted with the 10 new COVID-19 positive patients.

Of the 10 new cases, eight are males while two are females, according to DOH’s information.

Four of them are currently confined in Makati Medical Center, two in Tricity Medical Center in Pasig City, two in UniHealth Parañaque Hospital, one in Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, and one in The Medical City in Ortigas.

“DOH has deployed additional surveillance teams to expedite contact tracing of the new cases,” she said, assuring that DOH is maximizing all channels and coordinating with other concerned government agencies and stakeholders in its effort to identify those individuals.

According to Vergeire, the sudden increase in the number of patients found infected with COVID-19 was due to DOH’s “intensified surveillance” on suspected cases of the disease.

No lockdown yet

Despite this sudden spike in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in the country, the health official said that no lockdown will be enforced in any area until sustained community transmission is recorded.

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She said the major factor that would trigger a confirmation of community transmission is if cases being recorded by DOH is no longer linked to each other.

“Once na makita natin na mayroong isa [ng case] na walang link sa 20 nating kaso (Once we see that there is a case that does not have link with the 20 cases), then we can already… this will trigger the declaration of sustained community transmission,” Vergeire explained.

Once sustained community transmission is confirmed, DOH will raise the alert status on COVID-19 to Code Red Sub-level 2. Code Red Sub-level 1 was raised on Saturday after the health agency confirmed local transmission of the disease on the 5th case.

But Vergeire also said DOH has yet to establish the link of any of these 10 new patients to previous cases.

Late Sunday night, DOH released a statement confirming four COVID-19 cases that brought the total number of infections in the country to 10. The four COVID-19 patients are separately admitted to the Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City, The Medical City in Ortigas, and St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier disclosed.

Among these cases were the two patients who have recovered and the fatality,  who was a tourist from China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.

READ: Coronavirus: What we know about first death outside China

Contact tracing

DOH has already identified a total of 468 close contacts of patient numbers 4 to 10, of which 113 have now been assessed, according to Vergeire. She also said 107 of the total have been placed under home quarantine while six have been categorized as patients under investigation (PUIs) and placed under isolation in various health facilities.

With the number of coronavirus cases turning double in just one day, Vergeire said the DOH is now “transitioning” to utilizing home quarantine more, especially for those only experiencing mild symptoms of the disease, to avoid congestion in health facilities.

“Ina-advise natin [ang] home quarantine kung mild lang naman po ang mga sintomas. Ngunit kapag severe, ‘yun po ang pinapdala natin ngayon sa ating mga referral hospitals,” she said.

(We advise home quarantine if the symptoms are mild. If the symptoms are severe, that’s when we should take them to referral hospitals.)

Earlier Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Philippines under a state of public health emergency due to threats of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

Coronavirus is a family of viruses, which surfaces have a crown-like appearance. The viruses are named for the spikes on their surfaces.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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