By: JOEY A. GABIETA
TACLOBAN CITY-The mayor of this city, Alfred Romualdez, has issued an appeal to the Department of Health (DOH) to stop transporting patients confirmed to have afflicted with the coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19) but are only showing ‘mild symptoms.’
Patients who were confirmed to have COVID-19 are brought at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC), based this city.
But Mayor Romualdez said that transporting these patients to Tacloban gives an impression that the city, considered as the regional center of Eastern Visayas, has COVID-19 cases.
Tacloban City, with more than 214,000 people, remains to be COVID-19-free city though it is monitoring nine individuals suspected to have the virus.
“Why bring the patients to Tacloban City, at the EVRMC when they have only showing mild symptoms. Why not just isolate them at their respective hospitals and not transport them here,” Romualdez, in a hastily called press conference, said on Wednesday (April 22).
Romualdez, however, said that if the patient is suffering severe symptoms or the place where he comes from have no needed medical equipment, he would not question the decision of the DOH to transport the patient to the EVRMC.
“For humanitarian consideration, if the patient is suffering severe symptoms, then the city will accept him with open arms. But we have observed that those patients were only (suffering) of mild symptoms,” he said.
He said that having a COVID-19 patient though coming from outside Tacloban, gives an impression that the city has its own COVID-19 case and could expose its people of possible transmission of the virus.
Romualdez has placed the entire city under restrictive community quarantine effective March 21 which is to end on April 28.
He, however, imposed stricter border control after a confirmed COVID-19 case was transported by the DOH to the EVRMC who come from Burauen, Leyte last April 16.
But in a separate statement, the DOH said that EVRMC has been identified as the referral hospital for those suffering from COVID-19, adding that during the transportation of the patient, their staff strictly follows the protocols like the wearing of the personal protective equipment with the ambulance used immediately being disinfected to ensure that no virus would be transmitted.
No member of the patient’s family is also being allowed during the travel, the DOH said.
It also added that the six confirmed cases have ‘comorbidities’ such as asthma, hypertension, and diabetes.
“This is the reason why they were transported to the referral hospital. They need close monitoring and proper management. Also, our manpower, particularly specialist physicians capable of handling COVID-19 cases are in EVRMC,” the DOH said.
“And if the result turned positive for COVID-19 and patient is 60 years old above and with comorbidities then they will be transported to EVRMC,” it added.
The DOH also said that all local government units, as the ‘primary responders to the public health emergency,’ are mandated to prepare their own community and quarantine unit to cater the mild symptomatic suspects.
Currently, there are only two COVID-19 patients confined at the EVRMC- one from Burauen, Leyte and Tarangan, Samar.