By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Philippines health officials reported an additional 34 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 98.

“Now it is our turn to do our part in mitigating the spread of the disease. The DOH earnestly asks for everyone’s cooperation. Our frontline health workers and medical personnel are risking their safety to respond to the needs of the public, all we ask is for you to do your part: practice preventive measures, go on strict home quarantine if you are experiencing mild symptoms, and help halt the spread of fake news. The success of our measures to contain COVID-19 is hinged on your participation. We will get through this together,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III remarked.

“At this most trying time, our strongest weapon as a nation is Vigilance, Preparedness, and Solidarity. We are seeing these values at play now as DOH is receiving an influx of support from individuals and organizations who are willing to render assistance in any way they can. Let this be a reminder for all Filipinos to step up to the plate and heed the call for cooperation,” the Secretary added.

The Department of Health reported that the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) is limiting its services after several health personnel were exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case.

The confirmed case was the previously announced mortality last March 12 who was admitted at PHC. The patient was reported to have no history of travel and close contact to a confirmed patient. Several of the PUIs and PUMs were exposed to the patient. Prior to the confirmation of the patient’s diagnosis, healthcare workers were managing the case as a non-communicable case and were unable to wear the required personal protective equipment (PPE).

As of 2PM today, PHC has 13 patients under investigation (PUIs) – 12 health workers and one (1) non-health person. PHC sent home four patients under monitoring (PUMs) today who were previously quarantined in a restricted area in the hospital, while an additional six (6) PUMs are still quarantined in the facility. They are also currently verifying the number of PUMs in home quarantine.

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As of now, PHC is limiting its hospital operations to accommodate in-patient and emergency cases only. Services in the Outpatient Department were temporarily stopped last March 11 and are expected to reopen on March 16. The Catheterization Laboratory where the patient had her procedure was also closed and disinfected. Hospital services for Z-benefit packages and elective cases are temporarily cancelled until further notice. Currently, the human resource complement of PHC is being realigned by the management to provide continuous service to the admitted patients.

In addition, Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City has also reported several health workers being exposed to the COVID-19 virus. DOH is still verifying data on the exact figures and the updated conditions of the health workers.

“I assure our health workers that you have the full support of the whole Department as we go through this ordeal together. I commend the commitment of our health workers, who amidst the risks they are currently facing, are still serving and saving the lives of our kababayans. Our commitment to safeguard the health and well-being of our healthcare workers remains to be our priority,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.