COVID-19 patient stirs panic in Cavite
SAN PEDRO CITY—As soon as local officials confirmed Cavite’s first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), residents of Barangay Buhay na Tubig in the densely populated city of Imus rushed to grocery stores, sweeping the racks clean of alcohol, sanitizers and rolls of toilet paper.
The patient, a 48-year-old male seafarer, arrived on Feb. 28 via Tokyo’s Narita airport and began to manifest symptoms the next day.
According to Cavite health officer Dr. Nelson Soriano, the patient was admitted to a hospital on March 7 and was tested for the virus only on March 9.
The results came back the following day, prompting Cavite Gov. Juanito Victor Remulla to declare a weeklong, provincewide class suspension.
It did not help that the patient was already isolated for treatment at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City.
Barangay chief Reymundo Ramirez was forced to go live on Facebook and appeal for calm among his constituents.
He also apologized for failing to inform the villagers sooner “as we did not have the capability to confirm [a case] (unlike) city and provincial health offices.”
Posts revealing the patient’s identity also spread online, putting the man’s family at risk of public scorn.
Remulla on Thursday said that of the 10 people identified to have had “close contact” with the patient, one had developed symptoms and was under self-quarantine. The rest, he said, were “asymptomatic.” The patient remains in a stable condition, awaiting final tests for possible release depending on hospital protocol from the RITM, Ramirez said.
Meanwhile, a 62-year-old councilor from the town of Tayasan, about 109 kilometers north of Dumaguete City, remained in critical condition after he tested positive for COVID-19.
“He has severe pneumonia. He is intubated and on a ventilator at the intensive care unit of a private hospital,” said Bimbo Miraflor, spokesperson of Negros Oriental’s provincial government.
According to investigation, the councilor went around Greenhills in San Juan City in Metro Manila where he attended a national convention of the Philippine Councilors League.
The patient was first admitted to the Ace Dumaguete Doctors Hospital on March 6 but was transferred four days later to the Silliman University Medical Center after his condition deteriorated.
Doctors from Ace Hospital said the patient was admitted on March 6 for body malaise and vomiting. It was only on March 10 when the patient developed respiratory symptoms that the hospital considered him to be a person under investigation, they added.
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