The Department of Health (DOH) XI has urged those passengers of the same aircraft boarded by the first COVID-19 patient in the region that arrived in the city last Feb. 29 to go to their nearest health center.
Dr. Cleofe Tabada, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the DOH XI, advised other passengers who were in the same plane to go to the nearest local health center or call the DOH so health personnel can help them.
“If you’re not informing us, we can’t help you,” Tabada said in an interview.
The DOH-Davao Center for Health Development confirmed on Sunday the first COVID-19 case in the region.
Patient 130, or PH130, is a 21-year-old female who arrived in Manila from the United Kingdom, with a layover in Doha, Qatar, then proceeded to fly to Davao City on Feb. 29.
The patient was in a Philippine Airlines Manila-Davao Flight PR2815 – 12:30 p.m. to 2:25 p.m. on Feb. 29.
She said there is a big chance that someone in the flight could have been infected, and may now be a virus carrier.
Tabada said there are operation centers that are open 24/7 that they can contact to inform the health authorities and for them to know what to do so that they can be assisted.
Tabada said the Bureau of Quarantine had also contacted the PAL management for the manifesto of the flight.
Tabada said they already conducted contact tracing with PH130’s relatives and friends with whom she had interaction, as well as in the places that she visited in the province prior to her hospital confinement.
The contact tracing started from her family and friends who visited her and those individuals she visited, including the places she went to.
Passenger contract tracing
Tabada said the DOH has a standard protocol to be followed in contact tracing, which is based on the distance of the patient from other passengers on board the plane.
“The standard protocol is four persons in front, four persons in the back, four persons in each side,” Tabada said.
However, she said, there is also a need to ask her if she has other company during the flight who were in the other seats, because they may have direct contact together once they have gotten out of the plane.
Tabada said there were two same-flight passengers who reached out to them but they did not have any symptoms.
PH130, a resident of Pantukan in Davao de Oro, is now in stable condition at the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City, the DOH said.
Dr. Annabelle Yumang, DOH-XI director, also said that the family members of PH130 have also been placed in a 14-day home quarantine.
PH130 was placed in isolation on March 9 at a local health facility after seeking consultation due to cough. The following day, she was transferred and admitted for isolation and testing at the DRMC in Tagum City.
Dr. Bryan Dalid, DRMC chief of hospital, said the patient only suffered a minor COVID-19 infection and is now in a stable condition.
“Her condition has improved since the time she was admitted. Her cough, colds and fever are gone,” he added.
Dalid said the patient would be subjected to another nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal tests to determine if she is already cleared of COVID-19.
Her swab samples will be tested by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila, he added.
Dalid said the patient would be discharged if both tests would turn out negative.
The DOH bared that there are currently 20 persons under investigation (PUI) admitted in the two government hospitals in the region.
Dr. Yumang said six PUIs are at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) and 14 are at the Davao Region Medical Center (DRMC).
Last Friday, it was revealed there were seven PUIs in both medical center. This included the one that turned out to be positive. (with Samantha Burgos and Mindanews)