COVID-19 cases among medical workers not going down, group insists
MANILA, Philippines – The claim of the Department of Health (DOH) that the number of health workers infected with COVID-19 is going down contradicts its own data, according to the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW),
The group, which has been pushing for the protection of medical practitioners, insisted on Tuesday that there was a huge increase in health workers infected with the latest coronavirus strain and that the government had not heeded calls to protect frontliners.
Earlier, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH had recorded a decrease in the number of infected health workers, with 2,315 COVID-19 cases in the medical sector.
“How can the DOH say that the number of infected frontline health workers is decreasing? In DOH’s own data the infected health workers are increasing and is so alarming. Recently, a nurse from a home health care service in Taguig and to name a few died due to COVID-19,” the AHW national president, Robert Mendoza, said.
But even if only one health worker got infected from Monday to Tuesday as per DOH data, the increase from just 252 cases last April 8 to 2,315 on Tuesday is alarming, according to Mendoza.
As of now, the health workers still account for 17.88% of the national total COVID-19 cases, which is at 12,942. Out of the 2,315 patients, 1,306 are considered active cases while 35 have died, and 974 have recovered.
While this is slightly lower than the 18.58% recorded early this May, it is still way above the 2 to 3% infection rate among health workers in the Western Pacific region, which includes China, the origin of the disease.
The AHW previously proposed to the government several measures that could address the issue of high infection rates — like mass testing of health workers regardless of whether they are exhibiting symptoms or not, hiring more nurses and hospital staff to help worn out staffers, and the procuring more personal protective equipment.
“The current hospital workers’ conditions are worsening with the non-implementation of free mandatory testing to all health workers at least every two weeks, still lack of protective equipment, health workers are still working 12 hours a day and a slow process of hiring additional regular health workers to handle COVID-19 patients,” Mendoza said.
Of the 12,942 COVID-19 cases recorded as of Tuesday, 837 have died and 2,843 have recovered.
Worldwide, over 4.812 million persons have been infected, with 318,611 deaths and 1.792 million recoveries.
Despite the earlier reminders, Mendoza issued another warning to the DOH, saying that consequences might be dire if they should choose to ignore their suggestions.
“As long as the DOH does not carry out the health workers’ demands, we are certain that there will be more health workers who will become infected and succumbed with the deadly virus,” he said.
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