NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
One doctor and two medical technologists sent by Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) to train in Cebu tested positive of Covid 19 in a PCR test. This is in addition to the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) whose second PCR test found him positive of the virus.
This was confirmed by DOH-7 Regional Director Jaime Bernadas during an interview with dyRD’s “Radyo Merkado” radio program yesterday.
The DOH official said they arrived in Cebu last Monday and got their PCR test on Wednesday as part of the protocol to every front liner who will undergo training at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City
According to Bernadas, they are asymptomatic and are presently isolated in Cebu and DOH-7 has begun the contact tracing protocol.
During the radio interview, Dr. Bernadas said “probably they got the virus in Bohol.” However, he was quick to say this is not 100% sure as the results of the Swab tests were still unavailable as of yesterday. He said that contact tracing should be done in Bohol as well as in Cebu since the day they arrived for their scheduled training.
The trio were still on “classroom instructions” until they got the PCR test with no actual laboratory training yet, according to the DOH regional director.
For her part, Dr. Mutya Macuno, chief of the Gallares Hospital told the Chronicle that “contact tracing is being undergone while the three are asymptomatic.
She said some research has shown that as early as within two days of exposure, viral shedding can be picked up. She said she suspects her staff got it in Cebu because they don’t have exposure to any positive case in Bohol.
“We will know more when the swab results are in,” Dr. Macuno said.
Gov. Art Yap who broke the news Friday evening explained that per agreement with GCGMH, the hospital management will be the one to brief the public regarding the status of their medical personnel and employees.
Yap said the provincial government “fully supports the GCGMH and values its partnership as we protect the people of Bohol from the Covid 19”.
Meanwhile, at around 10:45 p.m. last Friday, Yap received from Bernadas, the complete list of the rest of Bol-anons with pending PCR tests in Cebu.
The complete list contains 102 PCR test results which shows that only one OFW that was reported earlier tested positive of Covid 19.
The rest of the OFWs tested negative of Covid19 in the PCR test, and all those from contract tracing, as well as those from community swabbing also tested negative of Covid19.
The male OFW who tested positive in the two PCR tests remained in isolation.
The other one who tested positive in the first PCR test and tested negative in the second still has to get another negative result of the PCR test.
The OFWs who had tested negative in the last two successive PCR tests during their over 14 days of quarantine in hotels here had already gone to their respective homes yesterday.
They were fetched by the local government units of their hometowns on Friday and Saturday.
Before proceeding to their houses, they stopped by the municipal health offices of their towns for check-up.
The male OFW who tested positive in two successive PCR tests was among the 48 OFWs who returned to Bohol on April 28 from Manila through the Malasakit Voyage.
The result was confirmed on May 13, based on the update from Bernadas.
That Wednesday morning, in a phone conversation, Bernadas told Yap that DOH-7 already had the results of the second PCR tests of the two OFWs who tested positive in an earlier PCR test conducted in Cebu.
It shows that only one of the two had remained positive of Covid 19. The other one was already negative of Covid.
The 48 OFWs tested negative in the rapid test before leaving Manila.
When they stopped over Cebu on their way to Bohol, swab specimens were taken from them for PCR test.
They were already in the quarantine facility in Bohol when the results came out on May 2.
The 48 OFWs were immediately given rapid tests and they all tested negative in the results that became available late night of May 2.
On May 5, the 48 OFWs and also the 15 OFWs who arrived Bohol a day ahead of them were subjected to another PCR test.
BOHOL CAN MANAGE
Yap assured that the medical team can manage the situation to prevent local transmission.
Yap assured that Bohol can manage Covid 19 with the isolation centers and quarantine facilities, and the preventive measures in place.
The governor also pointed out that Bohol must build three capacities: 1) the capacity to test for infections in the thousands through more PCR machines; 2) the capacity to contact trace so frontliners can find the sick among the populace, and 3) the capacity to treat the sick through better quarantine, isolation and hospital systems.
“If we can test, trace and treat, then we can show others and ourselves that we can live under the new normal. Businesses can return, religious services can be allowed, and we can once again accept domestic air and sea travellers,” Yap concluded.