Four PUIs in WV negative for novel coronavirus

Department of Health officials in Western Visayas led by (from left) Regional Director Marlyn Convocar, Dr. Ma. Sophia Pulmones, Local Health Support Division head; and Dr. Jane Juanico, infectious disease section head give updates on the 2019-novel coronavirus (n-CoV) acute respiratory disease in a press conference Monday. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

Four of the eight persons under investigation (PUI) in Western Visayas tested negative for 2019-novel coronavirus (n-CoV) acute respiratory disease, the Department of Health Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-6 reported on Monday.

Dr. Jane Juanico, head of the Infectious Disease Cluster, said the three-year-old Chinese kid who underwent consultation at the Western Visayas Medical Center in Mandurriao, Iloilo City was among the four PUIs who tested negative for 2019 n-CoV.

“We received the test results of the three-year-old child this morning and it was negative. The child is ready for discharge from the WVMC,” Juanico said in a press conference Monday.

As of Feb 3, 2020, DOH-CHD 6 recorded 8 PUIs in Aklan (6) and Iloilo City (2).

Three PUIs are still admitted in referral hospitals while five were already discharged.

Juanico said the results of the four remaining PUIs remain pending due to the surge of confirmatory tests at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

PUIs are identified as patients with symptoms and history of travel to China, Hong Kong, and Macau; and may have possible exposure to a positive case.

Apart from the eight PUIs, the health department is closely observing seven persons under monitoring (PUM) in the region.

“Out of the 7 PUMs, one is in Aklan, 2 are in Iloilo City, three in Iloilo province and one is in Negros Occidental. Four are admitted in hospitals while three are in home quarantine,” Juanico reported.

She explained that PUMs are patients with no symptoms but with a history of travel to China including Hong Kong and Macau and may have possible exposure to a positive case.

According to Juanico, the number may change as the decision tool of the national DOH is still fluid.

“It is based on the decision tool of the central office which is very fluid. Every now and then naga-reclassify sila sang mga number of health events,” she said.

While the region remains n-CoV free, Dr. Marlyn Convocar, DOH-CHD-6 regional director, urged the public, especially those with travel history to China, Macau, Hong Kong and countries with confirmed n-CoV cases, to undergo home quarantine for 14 days.

“They must stay in their respective homes for 14 days and contact their respective health centers,” Convocar said.

According to Convocar, they already tapped the Department of Interior in Local Government (DILG) to activate the Barangay Health Emergency and Response Team to help monitor Ilonggos who returned from n-CoV positive countries.

The DOH also advised LGUs in the region to activate their preparedness and response plans to the 2019-nCov.

More than wearing face masks, the health department stressed that the best protection from the deadly virus is frequent hand washing and following cough and sneezing etiquettes.