Davao hospital reports first 2 coronavirus relapse cases
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Two patients from the Davao Region who have recovered from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are back in the hospital after they tested positive anew.
They are possibly the first reported cases of relapse in the country.
Details about the 2 patients were scant but Dr. Leopoldo Vega, chief of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City, said on Thursday, April 23, that they were the first patients to be re-admitted to the hospital for testing positive again.
Vega also did not explain why the patients were tested again but it appeared they felt the symptoms, prompting them to call up the hospital and swab tests were taken from them.
“When we released them, they tested negative twice. But when we did [the] re-swabbing, they became positive again,” he said.
Vega said that because the 2 patients had returned to their homes after they were told that they had recovered from COVID-19, health authorities had to conduct a fresh round of contact tracing to identify the persons they might have had contact with following their discharge from the SPMC.
Vega said that the SPMC has recommended that patients who had been discharged after testing negative should still do self-isolation at home and monitor themselves for possible relapse.
The relapse of COVID-19 patients has baffled scientists and doctors around the world, who have yet to determine whether the patients were re-infected or the pathogen was simply re-activated.
On Sunday, April 26, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the DOH and other experts are still studying how this happened, but it is possible that the test detected the dead remnants of a virus.
“Patuloy pa rin ho ang ating pag-aaral tungkol dito (We are looking into this),” she said.
The World Health Organization on April 24 said that there “is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”
While lauded for its success in containing the virus with mass testing and methodical contact tracing, South Korea has grappled with a number of cases of relapse especially in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, once the epicenters of the virus outbreak in the country.
Across the Davao region, 62 patients had been reported to have recovered from the virus out of the 114 confirmed cases. The figure still includes the 2 relapse patients.
Davao City still has the most number of coronavirus cases at 99 – many of whom were infected during the week-long cockfight derby at the Matina Gallera last March.
Meanwhile, Davao Occidental, which has not recorded any COVID-19 case, remains on lockdown. (READ: Over 20 provinces have zero coronavirus cases as of April 22 – tracker)
The Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday that the number of coronavirus cases in the country has reached 6,981, with 462 fatalities, and 722 patients who have recovered. – Rappler.com