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50 of 83 psychiatrists at Nat'l Center for Mental Health under quarantine

The staff of the National Center for Mental Health has suffered a huge blow after 28 of them contracted the COVID-19 virus.

According to a Stand for Truth report, six elderly patients being treated for mental illness also tested positive for the disease. Three of them already died.

The NCMH also has 297 persons under investigation and 181 persons under monitoring as of April 5.

“There’s really a high infection rate among employees here. It’s quite alarming, but I hope this will be contained,” NCMH chief administrative officer Clarita Avila said.

According to Avila, the spread of the viral disease started in Pavilion 38, where elderly patients stay.

She said one of their employees in the pavilion contracted the virus, resulting in the contamination of six of the patients

Because the virus was not contained immediately, the hospital's staff complement declined.

Avila said 50 psychiatrists out of 83 were already undergoing self-quarantine.

She added 30 percent of their nursing staff were no longer reporting for work because they were either PUIs or PUMs.

Avila also lamented the lack of personal protective equipment and medical supplies, one of the reasons some workers do not report for work anymore.

“Others are afraid to report because they don’t have PPE. We lack the logistics. We lack the supplies to protect them. Parang pupunta sila sa giyera na wala naman silang baril,” Avila said.

She added they were only issued 586 pieces of PPEs — all out of donations from private citizens and organizations. Currently, they only have 100 pieces of PPEs.

Avila is hoping that health care workers, who are infected with the virus,be prioritized at hospitals.

“Nakakaawa po, para bang kanya-kanya na lang sila. Ang iba nagte-text sa akin kung may kakilala ba ako sa mga ospital para makapasok sila. Matagal na sila sa tent and walang nag-aasikaso,” she said.

With this, Avila appealed to the government to help health care workers because they are at the frontline in the fight against COVID-19.

She also called on the public for donations of PPEs for their frontliners.

As the premiere psychiatric facility of the country, they need support and attention especially in this time of crisis.

As of Tuesday, 3,764 COVID-19 infections have been reported in the Philippines with 177 deaths and 84 recoveries. -Ma. Angelica Garcia/NB, GMA News