Bicol LGUs report over 97,000 being monitored for coronavirus
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Department of Health officials in the Bicol region fear that they could be sitting on a ticking time bomb after the different local government units here reported Friday, March 20, over 97,000 cases of Persons Under Monitoring (PUM) for the coronavirus disease.
Ernie Vera, DOH Bicol regional director, said that based on the data provided by the Department of Interior and Local Government situation report of March 19, 5 pm, that there were almost 90,000 PUMs, with majority of the cases in Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Albay.
As of Friday, March 20, the LGU situation report posted on the DOH-Bicol Facebook account said they were monitoring 97,215 persons.
DOH Bicol's count though of PUMs with complete reports was at 77.
DOH Bicol also said there were still 7 persons under investigation (PUI) here. Overall it has recorded 39 PUIs and discharged 32.
There was still no confirmed case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in Bicol.
Vera said LGUs here noted a big spike in PUM cases in their areas after President Rodrigo Duterte declared the community quarantine in Metro Manila on Monday, March 15. The president later imposed a more strict Luzon-wide lockdown on Tuesday, March 16.
Vera said Bicolanos based in Metro Manila returned home in droves, some of them coming from places where there were cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
DOH Bicol said if an outbreak happens, the region's referral hospitals do not have testing kits to immediately determine coronavirus cases.
All specimens from those categorized as PUI, meaning the patient has a fever and has problems breathing, are tested only at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila.
The 3 referral hospitals identified by DOH Bicol are the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital, Bicol Medical Center and Bicol Sanitarium.
“The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is already in the doorsteps of Bicolanos as the persons under monitoring are ballooned to 86,698 as of March 19,” Vera said.
Based on the LGU situation report, the highest number of monitoring among the 6 provinces of Bicol was Camarines Sur with 35,754. Albay was second with 21,113, while Camarines Norte had 14,623.
Vera said, if Bicolanos do not follow the recommended home quarantine policy, a coronavirus infection "could happen in the coming days."
"The virus is in our doorstep. Based on the average of 6.5 days incubation period, anytime, we could have COVID-19 case here. We don’t want the blaming scenario here. Follow the quarantine because the war on virus is unseen,” Vera added.
Last Wednesday, March 18, the provincial government of Albay sealed its borders in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. – Rappler.com