The Department of Health Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH CHD 6) said that, as of yesterday noon, 24 of its employees were already confirmed positive for the coronavirus disease 2019.
Of the 24 cases, eight are in the hospitals while the rest are in quarantine facilities.
“All the current 24 started with symptoms,” Dr. Jane Juanico, head of the infectious disease cluster of the DOH CHD6, said in a phone interview.
She said tracing of possible contacts of their positive cases is still ongoing.
She added that their personnel have been instructed to be ready anytime with the history of recent places that they visited and the people they mingled with before they went into quarantine or when they reported to their office last week for fast contact tracing.
As of yesterday, they were able to account for less than 200 individuals.
Apart from the 24 positives, 94 yielded negative results while 20 test results remain pending.
Juanico said the first four cases identified showed no common exposure.
Being the first four to be detected does not mean being the source of the infection in the unit. It could be that some were not traced before they became positive, she added.
It seemed, Juanico said, the transmission was community-acquired but the signs and symptoms were manifested just this week.
Also, the transmission happened because a lot of their employees reported at the regional office during the whole month of December to process important documents.
Nonetheless, Juanico said that the services of the health office are ongoing because, even before the onset of the problem, their employees were already working from home.
“The Department of Health assures the public that our services will still be provided. Most of our training and monitoring already shifted to an online platform and we still have our field personnel who were previously posted in local government units and provincial health offices,” she said.
There are also ongoing services at the regional office as uninfected employees were already identified.
Among the services that will proceed are the measles, rubella, and oral polio vaccine supplemental immunization activities in February. “Preparatory activities for the MR OPV SIA campaign as well as the provision of technical assistance to LGUs and other partners are ongoing through online platform. DOH development management officers also conduct onsite technical assistance and monitoring to ensure the LGUs’ readiness,” the DOH 6 said in a press statement.*PNA