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Over 30 Lung Center workers test positive for COVID-19

/ 11:34 AM July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — More than 30 staffers of the Lung Center of the Philippines have tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) although most of them must have contracted the illness through community transmission and not from patients at the hospital, its spokesperson said on Wednesday.

“Nasa more than 30 but I would like to clarify that noong nag-umpisa ang COVID, nine lang ang nagkasakit sa amin. That was when we did not know who really had it or not,” Dr. Norberto Francisco said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo when asked about the number of workers at the hospital who have contracted the disease.

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Francisco noted that no one from the hospital staff tested positive for the disease during the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila imposed in mid-March.

“Not even a single employee got sick kasi walang uwian at pinangalagaan namin lahat. Binigyan namin ng kailangang kaukulang protection.

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(Not even a single employee got sick because they do not go home as we take care of them. We gave them necessary protection.)

He said that “isolated cases” among the hospital workers started to appear when the community quarantine was relaxed and the workers went back to their homes.

But when the hospital conducted contact tracing for these cases, they found no evidence that there was clustering of infection from the facility even though it admits COVID-19 patients.

“So what does this mean? Mukhang sa community talaga nanggagaling ‘yung kanilang infection, hindi sa hospital kahit marami kaming kaso doon,” Francisco explained.

(So what does this mean? It appears that the infection really came from the community and not from the hospital even though we have a lot of patients.)

He also said that health workers with sufficient personal protective equipment and who carefully observe protocols in attending to COVID-19 patients are not considered exposed to the virus.

With the hospital’s findings on contract tracing of its employees, Francisco said the government should not yet relax the community quarantine as long as the public is not disciplined enough to observe health protocols against the spread of the virus, such as physical distancing, wearing of face masks, and frequent hand sanitation.

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Francisco added that the hospital will also need more manpower especially with the continued increase of patients being admitted to the facility, saying that the number of patients being attended to by nurses has also moved past the ideal ratio.

“Ideally 1:2 at the most, pero siguro napipiltan pa silang mag-1:3 or 1:4. But we have no choice. We have to go on,” said the official.

(Ideally, the ratio of nurse to patient is 1:2 but maybe they are forced to make it 1:3 or 1:4. But we have no choice. We have to go on.)

The Lung Center of the Philippines has already reached full capacity of intensive care unit beds dedicated for severe and critical cases of COVID-19.

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, health workers, Lung Center of the Philippines
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