Mayor asks DOH to stop bringing to Tacloban COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms
TACLOBAN CITY — Mayor Alfred Romualdez is asking the Department of Health (DOH) to stop bringing to the city COVID-19 patients with only mild symptoms as it was creating an impression that Tacloban, which is still coronavirus-free, has cases of infection.
The city, with a population of 214,000, remained free of COVID-19 although health workers were monitoring individuals suspected of carrying the virus.
Romualdez said bringing patients with only mild symptoms to the government-owned Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) was making it appear that Tacloban, considered as the regional center of Eastern Visayas, had COVID-19 cases.
“Why bring the patients to Tacloban City, at the EVRMC, when they are only showing mild symptoms?” Romualdez said at a news conference on Wednesday (April 22).
“Why not just isolate them at their respective hospitals and not transport them here?” he said.
The mayor said he would not question the transport of patients to EVRMC if they were suffering from severe symptoms or their areas lacked medical facilities.
“For humanitarian consideration, if the patient is suffering from severe symptoms, then the city will accept him with open arms,” Romualdez said.
“But we have observed that those patients were only (suffering) from mild symptoms,” he said.
He said bringing COVID-19 patients into Tacloban would give an impression that the city has COVID-19 cases that might spread through local transmission.
Romualdez has ordered a restrictive community quarantine in the city from March 21 to April 28.
He, however, imposed stricter border control after one COVID-19 patient was transported by the DOH to the EVRMC from Burauen town, Leyte last April 16.
In a separate statement, the DOH said that EVRMC is a referral hospital for COVID-19 and that transfers of patients follow protocol, like no relative or friend is allowed to accompany the patient during transfer.
The DOH said six COVID-19 patients transferred to EVRMC had asthma, hypertension and diabetes.
“This is the reason why they were transported to the referral hospital,” said the DOH statement.
“They needed close monitoring and proper management,” it said.
The DOH added that government doctors and personnel with experience in handling COVID-19 cases are in EVRMC.
Protocol, the DOH statement said, required that the patient be brought to EVRMC if he or she is 60 years old or above, has preexisting conditions and tested positive for coronavirus.
The DOH also said that all local government units, as the “primary responders to the public health emergency,” are mandated to prepare their community and quarantine unit for mild COVID-19 cases.
There are currently two COVID-19 patients in EVRMC. One is from Burauen, Leyte and the other from Tarangan, Samar.
Edited by TSB
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.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.