District hospital in Batangas shuts down, 100 frontliners quarantined
BATANGAS, Philippines – The district hospital in San Jose town in Batangas province was shut down after health workers were exposed to a patient who later tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
San Jose District Hospital director Dr Reynaldo Ozaeta said they admitted a patient last March 20 who was eventually transferred to a hospital in Manila and died 12 hours after being intubated.
"Dumating sa amin 8 pm. Walang ibang ospital gustong tumanggap. We managed it as pneumonia pero sinabi nga namin hindi kami dapat ang ospital dahil Level 1 lang kami. After he expired, the swab turned out to be positive," Ozaeta said.
(He was brought to us at 8 pm. No other hospital wanted to admit him. We managed it as pneumonia but we said we're not the appropriate hospital because we're just Level 1. After he expired, the swab turned out to be positive.)
The patient was a 63-year-old male from the town of Alitagtag with no travel history. He initially suffered a stroke, was discharged from another hospital, and contracted pneumonia after 5 days.
Ozaeta said they closed the hospital last Thursday, March 26, to perform disinfection and decontamination measures.
"Lahat ng personnel namin na na-expose, naka-quarantine. 'Yung iba nasa hospital kasi they are discriminated sa barangay," he added.
(All of our personnel who were exposed are under quarantine. Some of them are staying at the hospital since they are discriminated against in their barangays.)
Of the 100 frontliners composed of nurses, utility personnel, and medical technicians, 15 persons under investigation (PUIs) and 13 persons under monitoring (PUMs) are at the hospital. Meanwhile, there are 19 PUIs and 53 PUMs who are quarantined in their respective homes.
Ozaeta said the hospital will resume outpatient department (OPD) operations once all those exposed have been tested and results come out.
"Hopefully ma-contain sa one building lang ['yung PUIs and PUMs] para makapag-open kami ng OPD. Hindi rin madali 'pag binuksan lahat kasi we need to monitor other personnel para maalagaan din sila," he added.
(Hopefully we can contain the PUIs and PUMs in only one building so we can open the OPD. It won't be easy if we open all departments because we need to monitor and take care of other personnel, too.)
He also assured the public that the hospital has trained personnel to handle suspected COVID-19 cases.
Based on data from the Batangas Provincial Health Office released on Sunday, March 29, the province has 21 coronavirus cases. Of these, 16 are still hospitalized, 2 have recovered, and 3 have died. – Rappler.com