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Around 250 PGH staff infected with COVID-19, says spokesperson


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Some 250 healthcare workers at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) contracted COVID-19, its spokesperson said Saturday.

"Kung ang gagamitin natin na base ay 1,600 o ipagpalagay mo nang 1,000, mga 250 frontliners (If we will use a base of 1,600 or let's assume 1,000, there are around 250 frontliners infected with COVID)," PGH spokesperson Jonas Del Rosario said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

In response to the rising number of COVID-19 admissions, Del Rosario said they have tweaked their policy following the Inter-Agency Task Force's updated isolation and quarantine protocols for healthcare workers. 

"Basta wala po silang symptoms, tuloy lang po ang trabaho. Kasi po hindi namin kayang i-quarantine ang napakaraming empleyado, doktor, nurses at mga support staff kasi wala na pong matitira rito sa ospital," he said.

(As long as they do not manifest symptoms, they will continue to work. Because we could not quarantine too many employees, doctors, nurses and support staff as there will be no one left in the hospital.)

"So ngayon ang policy namin, unless maging symptomatic ka, for example ikaw ay na-expose sa isa na may COVID pero wala ka pa namang symptoms, tuloy lang ang trabaho, hindi ka magku-quarantine. 'Yan po ang crisis response ng PGH ngayon," Del Rosario said.

(Our policy right now is unless a frontliner becomes symptomatic, for example he or she was exposed to someone with COVID but did not show symptoms, he or she will continue to work, quarantine will not be required. That is the crisis response of PGH at the moment.)

To protect its healthcare workers against the infection, Del Rosario said their personal protective equipment (PPE) have "leveled up" with N95 masks, and that the management conducts daily monitoring of their condition.

The IATF on Friday approved shortened isolation and quarantine periods for fully vaccinated health workers infected with or exposed to COVID-19, Malacañang said Friday.

"Hospital infection prevention and control committees are authorized to implement shortened quarantine protocols of five days for their fully vaccinated healthcare workers consistent with health care capacity needs and individualized risk assessment," part of IATF Resolution 156 reads.

Likewise, the IATF Resolution states that hospital infection prevention and control committees can also implement shortened isolation protocols for COVID-19 for fully vaccinated healthcare workers "in extreme circumstances and upon weighing risks and benefits."

Admissions

Meanwhile, there are 255 COVID-19 admissions at PGH as of Saturday, Del Rosario said.

Those vaccinated and unvaccinated were about just the same in proportion, with 50% for vaccinated and 50% for the unvaccinated, he said.

"Marami sa mga pasyente ngayon na dumadating, marami mga mild. Marami kaming fully vaccinated patients, iba 'yung sakit nila, may iba pa silang dinadaing. It turns out nag-positive sila sa COVID pero hindi talaga COVID ang nagpalala sa kanila," Del Rosario said.

(Many of the patients being admitted have mild symptoms. We have many fully vaccinated patients, they have different diseases, they have other complaints. It turns out they tested positive for COVID, but it was not really COVID that made their sickness worse.)

Del Rosario added that there were fewer admissions of critically ill COVID-19 patients with respiratory problems.

For those unvaccinated patients, Del Rosario said COVID-19 made their illness worse.

The PGH spokesperson said their ICU is 100% occupied, while their bed occupancy is at 80%.

Del Rosario said their maternity ward, which closed on Thursday, is expected to reopen next week.

The Department of Health on Friday logged 21,819 new COVID-19 cases increasing the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 2,910,664.

Of this number, 77,369 are active; 2,781,424 recovered; and 51,871 died.

The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were National Capital Region with 13,634 or 63%, followed by Region 4-A with 4,129 or 19% and Region 3 with 2,084 or 10%, the DOH said. —KG, GMA News

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