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DOH-7 reiterates calls for strict social distancing as PUMs, SARI, ILI count reach 14K

By: Rosalie Abatayo - Reporter/CDN Digital | March 24,2020 - 06:56 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines —  The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) has reiterated its calls for the public to stay at home and maintain strict social distancing as persons that they are currently monitored for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection reach 14,000.

Dr. Jaime Bernadas, director of the DOH-7, said it is safer for everyone to stay at home and abide by the curfew and social distancing policies imposed by the government to prevent the spread of the virus.

Bernadas, in a press conference on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, even announced that he will no longer host press briefings and encouraged the members of the Cebu media to get their information while working from home via phone calls.

“Kitang tanan, dili na ta magsuroy-suroy. Kung mahimo lang, adto na mo sa balay maghimo og reports. (Let us all refrain from going out. If possible, do your news reports at home.) We will be accessible to you. Maintain social distancing,” Bernadas said.

As of press time, the DOH-7 reported a total of 14,662 persons under monitoring (PUMS) in Central Visayas distributed in the provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. PUMs in Cebu are in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, and Mandaue.

Persons suffering from severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and Influenza-like Illness (ILI) have also reached 327. Of which, 23 SARI patients and 16 persons with ILIs are confined in different hospitals here while 288 ILIs are under home isolation.

Cebu City has the most number of admitted patients with 13 SARI cases. At least 21 from this city are also under home isolation for ILI symptoms.

Mandaue City, where the first COVID-19 case in Cebu was recorded, now has two SARI patients and 494 PUMs.

The DOH-7 also said no new cases have been added to the three confirmed COVID-19 cases recorded in the region. This includes PH 3, the Chinese national who visited Bohol in January but was discharged because her test results showed that she was negative for COVID-19; PH 39, the councilor from Negros Oriental who died last March 15; and PH 188, the recent and first case in Cebu who is still admitted in a hospital in Mandaue City.

Bernadas said that PH 188 is already recovering and that they are just waiting for his repeat test results to confirm that he is already free of the COVID-19 virus.

At the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, a designated sub-national level laboratory that can conduct testing for COVID-19, a total of 31 samples have been run. The tests rendered 25 negative test results while 6 are subject for confirmatory testing.

These tests are in addition to the first batch of 50 tests which yielded 47 negatives and three results for confirmation.

Bernadas explained that since this is the first batch of tests conducted in the sub-national laboratory, they will need to cross-check and confirm some of the results with those coming from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). / dcb

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TAGS: bernadas, COVID-19, DOH-7, ILI, PUMs, SARI, social distancing

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