ACE Medical Center (ACE-MC) Bohol has denied that its nurse aide who tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID) 2019 escaped from quarantine to attend a birthday celebration, refuting the earlier report of Tagbilaran City Mayor Baba Yap.
ACE, in a statement issued Monday, said that the nurse aide joined the birthday party of his mother in Panglao on June 1 and his quarantine at the hospital started on June 6.
However, Panglao Municipal Health Officer Dr. Julieta Cogo said that through their contact-tracing they found out that the nurse aide attended two birthday parties—his mother’s on June 1 and his neighbor’s on June 6.
This was also admitted by the health worker himself, said Cogo who is leading Panglao’s contact-tracing efforts.
“Mao niy nakuha nako, June 1 niuli siya kay birthday sa iyang mama. Pag June 5 hing-uli na pud siya, hing higda sa balay sa iyang mama, unya pagka June 6 naa na puy birthday sa silingan mao naki-birthday napud siya,” she added.
Although the health worker only tested positive for COVID-19 on June 12, he was pinpointed as among “direct” contacts of a 65-year-old woman who was admitted at ACE-MC and who tested positive for the disease on June 4.
According to Cogo, the COVID-positive health worker interacted with more people on June 6 as he was in a drinking session with his friends that day.
“Daghan siyang nakahalobilo aning June 6…kay nag-inom man sila,” she said.
The Panglao local government unit released a statement on June 13 informing the public that they launched contact-tracing operations to find out who interacted with the COVID-positive health worker during the birthday celebration.
This prompted the nurse aide’s friends to come forward and report to authorities that they interacted with the health worker and were in a drinking session on June 6.
“Pag-butang namo sa announcement nanggawas sila, sila na mismo ang ni-claim na apil sila,” she said.
Those who were traced to have been in contact with the health worker including his family and those who were at his mother’s and neighbor’s birthday parties have been swabbed and quarantined.
Some seven households in particular were placed on lockdown by Panglao Mayor Leonila Montero due to their interaction with the COVID-stricken hospital worker.
According to Cogo, the health worker was only called by ACE-MC to report for work and start quarantine in the afternoon of June 6.
This was also confirmed by ACE-MC which said in its statement that the nurse aide’s quarantine started “late afternoon” of June 6, two days after a patient who he was in contact with tested positive for COVID-19 on June 4.
ACE-MC earlier said that the health worker had “direct contact” with the COVID-19 patient but it clarified in its recent statement that the interaction was “short” and that he only conducted checking of vital signs on May 26 and May 31.
According to ACE-MC, the health worker has been quarantined since June 6 and has not been showing any symptoms of the disease.
The hospital’s statement was issued after Yap said on Sunday that the health worker broke quarantine protocol to attend a birthday party before his polymerase chain reaction test result was released.
According to the mayor, the city’s legal department was looking into possible charges which may be filed against the health worker.