South Cotabato calls consultative meeting on preparedness, response vs nCoV

Koronadal City—Provincial Health officials in South Cotabato gathered key persons to discuss infection prevention and control measures against Novel Corona Virus (nCoV).

Dr. Rogelio Aturdido, Provincial Health Officer, presented the preparedness and response framework against NCov during the meeting.

“We decided to call you as early as now to heighten disease surveillance and agree on terms as to the release of information about nCoV,” Aturdido said.

The consultative meeting called up government agencies like DILG, DTI, and DOLE to help the province contain the imminent public health threat of this new flu virus.

Local media were also invited to ensure that people would have informed decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“We don’t want our people to panic instead, we wanted to be as engaging because giving right information is equally as important as delivering key public health messages,” Aturdido told reporters.

Aturdido said the surveillance team received two text messages regarding a possible suspected case but turned out negative during an investigation.

“We are taking gossip seriously for case finding,” Aturdido emphasized.

All level 2 and 3 hospitals in the province are directed to attend to all patients, including suspected to have the 2019 nCoV who are seeking consultations and treatment, the provincial health officer said.

In South Cotabato, four hospitals are ready to accept People Under Investigation (PUI) and People Under Monitoring PUM).

Persons under monitoring are those persons who have recently traveled to countries without reported community transmission. They don’t have a fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms. The symptoms did not occur within 14 days of exposure.

On the other hand, persons under investigation are those who have traveled to China, including Macau, Taiwan, and Hongkong. They are suffering from flu-like illnesses. The symptoms occur within 14 days.

Celia Lorenzo, Disease Surveillance Officer, said these hospitals are Howard Hubbard Hospital (Polomolok), Dr. Arturo Pingoy Hospital (Koronadal), Allah Valley Hospital (Koronadal), and South Cotabato Provincial Hospital (Koronadal).

“At present, the disease surveillance team is fully equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE),” Lorenzo said. Based on physical inventory, the PPE stocks could accommodate 10 PUI and PUM.

All level 2 and 3 hospital administrators are directed to come up with an emergency plan in case PUI comes to more than five.

“We need to make makeshift isolation room in case of a worst-case scenario,” Lorenzo said.

Meanwhile, Rolly Doane Aquino, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Officer-in-Charge, urged the Provincial Health Office to submit a request for necessary equipment to step up preventive measures against the threat of nCoV.

“We will open our Operation Center to accommodate the fastest way to download important announcements to the barangay,” Aquino said.

Local police committed to assisting provincial health office in facilitating suspected persons with nCoV who refused to submit for quarantine or isolation.

However, PNP steps are coordinated with the local health authorities.

“Let’s keep calm. There is nothing to worry about because we are guarding nCoV, but we need your cooperation by reporting directly to us,” the provincial health team assured.