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Doctor who tested positive for COVID-19 opens up on recovering from illness

/ 04:04 PM April 05, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—A doctor who tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has opened up about his experience recovering from the illness and finding out about his diagnosis.

Dr. Joey Hernandez or PH 1264, speaking to “Dobol B sa News TV” on dzBB, explained that he wanted to be transparent with what he faced because it is nothing to be ashamed of.

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“Alam ko para sa iba, sensitive ang information, ang padisclose na ikaw si patient ganito,” he said.

“Pero sa aking pananaw kasi, since ang pagiging parte ng statistics nito ay hindi natin kasalanan in any way, hindi dapat ito ikinakakahiya sa kung sino man.”

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(I know that for others, this information is sensitive, disclosing that you are a patient. But in my opinion, since being part of these statistics is not our fault in any way, it should not be shameful for anyone.)

Besides falling ill, one of his struggles with COVID-19 was getting his results. Hernandez said in the radio interview, “‘Yung hindi lang siguro smooth would be ‘yung pagkuha ng resulta on time.” (The only thing that wasn’t smooth would be getting the results on time.)

He said in a Facebook post March 30 that he discovered that he had the infectious disease after taking the test 13 days before his posting, and only after using connections to get the information.

After getting in touch with the Department of Health (DOH), he said he was referred to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). He was told that his results were emailed on March 26 to the hospital he got swabbed in and that RITM could not disclose them. Finally, he got his results from the hospital after tapping some connections.

He admitted being surprised: “Nung una, ‘di ako actually makapaniwala. Kabilang ako sa sobrang liit na percentage of Filipinos with COVID-19.”

(At first, I could not believe it. I was part of the extremely small percentage of Filipinos with COVID-19.)

“Para kang tumama sa lotto pero siyempre, kabaliktaran,” he noted. (It was as if you hit the lottery, but of course, in reverse.)

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Hernandez recalled exhibiting symptoms on March 16, namely “fever, sore throat, headache, cough, difficulty breathing and body weakness.”

He went to a hospital in Quezon City and was told he was qualified for swabbing, after which he was advised to do home quarantine since he was not a high-risk patient. He said that by March 27, he no longer had symptoms.

Last April 2, he took a test to check if he no longer has COVID-19 and expected results in 5 to 7 days. Two negative swabs are needed to declare that he no longer has the disease.

Even though he was already feeling better when he received his positive results, he was worried for those he was in contact with.

“Although nag-isolate naman ako noong nagkaroon ako ng sintomas noong March 16, hindi ako maiwasan na mag-alala,” he said.

(Although I self-isolated when I had symptoms on March 16, I could not help but worry.)

Hernandez said he coordinated with the DOH on contact tracing. Despite being a doctor, he has not been in hospitals. “Office-based ‘yung work ko (My work has been office-based) the past few months, although I see patients from time to time,” he explained.

He said risk factors for contracting the disease could have been being in crowds, such as riding the bus or being in similarly crowded places.

Besides getting back to his work routine, the doctor has been helping the DOH with its COVID-19 response and has been active on social media to spread awareness about the disease.

“The Philippines needs all hearts, minds and brains to fight, combat, contain COVID. Tulong tayo (Let us help) whenever we can,” he appealed.

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.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

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