‘Institutional spread’

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Call it paranoia, but the climbing cases of COVID-19 positive in our province and city has alarmed me that I’ve started analyzing reports released by bio-molecular labs here and in the region. Of course I am no medical expert thus I started calling out to those who can provide inputs.

In the course of my conversation with Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital chief, Dr. Julius Drilon, I found out an even more worrisome fact – there is now an “institutional spread” of COVID-19 at the Riverside Medical Center, Inc. (RMCI) after recent results showed that they have a total of 16 personnel who tested positive.

If we recall, RMCI issued two medical advisories, the first caused some panic that even led to the closure of our borders with Panay. The second advisory rectified their initial claims of “full capacity,” to admitting that the 11 beds they provided for COVID are all occupied by either positive or suspected cases.

I received a text message alleging that RMCI have personnel who were infected but without proof, I never wrote about it. I did call for RMCI to be more transparent with their situation especially as they are one of the biggest health facilities we have here.

The only story verified was their dialysis nurse who tested positive after treating an LSI. That nurse also infected his doctor wife who is pregnant and several other biker friends in Talisay, one or two of whom also spread it to family members and friends.

But now, apart from the 16 RMCI personnel that tested positive, 64 others were swabbed today. I just hope the numbers will not go up anymore otherwise RMCI may find themselves in big trouble.

Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran confirmed the report and called it an “institutional contamination.”

El Cid was among those who verbally aired his displeasure at the “misleading” advisory that RMCI first issued and with this new development, he said that hospital management must be more transparent.

“Let’s call a spade, a spade.” El Cid said, adding that “Riverside owes that much to the public and part of their social responsibility,” especially since a lot of people continue to frequent the hospital for their health needs.

A similar case happened in St. Paul’s Hospital in Iloilo City where six doctors tested positive. Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas did not have to order a lockdown as management opted to do it themselves even before the discovery of two more personnel who also tested positive.

Yet here, RMCI has not issued any advisory and continue to be mum about the issue, at least as of this writing.

Can the city government issue an order to place Riverside on lockdown? Just asking because our LGU is quick to issue lockdowns on puroks and communities with even fewer cases than 16. So what prevents them from using their power to force RMCI to temporarily close its doors until everyone gets tested, and contact tracing of patients and visitors are completed?

Prior to finding out about the Riverside cases, I called up Dr. Drilon if he can explain to me the high positive results coming out of the Teresita Jalandoni Provincial Hospital laboratory since no one can give me any information about it. For the record, I tried calling but didn’t get answers.

I’ve been asking some friends about the TJPH results for a couple of weeks now after seeing a trend in high positive results compared to other laboratories. What triggered my calls were the results last Wednesday wherein out of 77 test results released by the lab, 35 were new positive cases, five repeat positive cases and 37 negative results. That is more than 50 percent of their total results released and way, way above the national average of less than 10 percent supposedly.

That same day, July 22nd, results from the CLMMRH bio-molecular lab showed two positives out of 30 tests; Iloilo City had 5 positives out of 291; Iloilo Province had 4 positives out of 653; while Capiz had 2 out of 80 tests.

Thursday’s results were almost the same with TJPH releasing 24 positives, including two that were tagged to other regions, out of 24 test results. While Iloilo City and Iloilo province had 6 each out of hundreds of tests. Bacolod City also had results coming from Western Visayas lab that showed one positive out of 108 samples we sent there yet the lone sample sent to TJPH came out positive too.

Dr. Drilon of course cannot comment on the process used by TJPH as they have a different method used at CLMMRH. Suffice it to say, Dr. Drilon said that their tests go through “quality control protocols” wherein at one time, out of the 60 samples they tested, they got a high of 57 spikes. That was very unusual so he re-ordered a re-test of swab samples that came out with a much accurate and lower figure.
I am not saying that there may be something wrong with the TJPH lab, but the figures coming out of there really begs explaining.*

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