Pangasinan, including three provinces in Region 1, remains 2019 Novel Coronavirus-free.
This was emphasized by Department of Health Region 1 and Pangasinan Provincial Health Office during the question hour of the Pangasinan provincial board on February 10.
In the provincial level, PHO Anna Ma. Teresa S. De Guzman said that as of February 10, Pangasinan has neither confirmed cases of 2019 nCov nor person under investigation (PUI).
“Wala pa po talagang confirmed case ng 2019 nCoV sa ating probinsya,” she said.
Dr. De Guzman assured that the provincial government and all 14 provincial government-run hospitals are prepared in case the virus arises in the province.
“When we received the advisory from the DOH sometime in January, we have already issued directives to our 14 provincial government-run hospitals to conduct audit on all our resources including drugs and medicines and our human resources,” she stated.
“We still have enough resources of surgical masks in our hospital,” she guaranteed however, she urged the public to avoid panic-buying of the masks for the immunocompromised patients and for the health workers in the hospital.
The provincial government, she added, has also identified isolation rooms since the the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
If the person is under investigation, he will be admitted at the Region 1 Medical Center which is equipped with isolation rooms that have negative pressures, Dr. De Guzman added.
“We also advised our personnel to be vigilant in catering to incoming patients showing signs and symptoms of fever, cough and colds, who established a history of travel,” she also added.
At this level, health authorities are also closely monitoring Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who returned to the country for the possible entry of this disease, the PHO chief noted.
It was noted that health authorities are considering four factors as decision tool before declaring nCoV positive case, such as: fever, respiratory infection, travel history in China for the past 14 days and history of exposure to a known nCoV case.
“If the patient has three or all the factors, then he is considered person under investigation,” DOH Region 1 Center for Health Development Medical Officer IV Rheuel C. Bobis explained underscoring that this patient will undergo multiple examination while under quarantine for at least 14 days or until the samples were given to the hospital.
The rationale behind the 14-day quarantine period has something to do with the incubation period of the disease or the time when the patient contracted the disease to the signs and symptoms which takes 14 days, Dr. Bobis further stated.
“Region 1 Medical Center has 9 beds that can cater persons under investigation, 2 isolation rooms and 1 isolation room with negative pressure,” he added.
As of February 8, he also noted, there are 34,886 cases around the globe with 724 death counts which is equivalent to 2.07% case fatality rate.
In comparison, 2019 nCov has a lower fatality rate than SARS-CoV (10%) and MERS-CoV (36%), he stated.
Hence, the august body urged every Pangasinense to stay vigilant while the disease remains a national concern.
In his statement, Board Member Jeremy Agerico B. Rosario reiterated that Pangasinenses should also be vigilant against fake news online that the virus has already reached Pangasinan.
As such, to keep the people informed and to ensure that first-hand and credible information will be forwarded to the grassroot levels on the update of nCoV, the provincial board moves to have Dr. De Guzman as the sole spokesperson in the province.
Furthermore, the public is encouraged by the provincial board to avoid attending or participating in any events that draw huge number of crowds with the ongoing threat of the spread of the nCoV, following the DOH advisory.
Also present during the question hour were: Provincial Information Officer Orpheus M. Velasco, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Rhodyn Luchinvar Oro, Association of Municipal and City Health Officers of Pangasinan (AMCHOP) Secretary Jesus Arturo P. De Vera and other key officials in health sector.
/Shiella Mae C. De Guzman (Photos by Jin Perez)