February 2, 2023

Four people from the Cordillera are under investigation (PUI) for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
All the PUIs with an age range of two to 57 years old have travelled to Hong Kong. They are presently admitted in an undisclosed health facility in the region.
The PUIs are not related, said Department of Health OIC Regional Director Amelita Pangilinan. She said the number of PUIs may rise as many people, especially those who travelled overseas have volunteered to seek medical consultation upon their arrival in the Philippines.
“It’s a good sign. We should not be alarmed. At least marami na ang nagpapa-check up,” Pangilinan said.
As the usual procedure, oropharyngeal samples have been taken from the PUIs for examination of the Regional Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila.
The results will be out 48 hours after receipt of the specimen, Pangilinan said.
Two of the PUIs are from Benguet, one is from Baguio, and one is from Mountain Province. Pangilinan declined to give the other circumstances of the PUIs saying the DOH and local health offices have been receiving calls requesting them not to give any clue that could lead to the identification of a PUI. She said many have been stigmatized and have become suspect that someone within their midst could be a carrier of the infection.
“The PUIs are well and we are just waiting for the results of the test from the RITM,” Pangilinan said in a press conference last Feb. 6.
The PUIs will all be under a 14-day quarantine and may be discharged if the result of the test is negative.
Pangilinan said the DOH’s announcement that there is a PUI in the region should not stop the public from doing their day-to-day activities.
She reiterated the best defense against any disease is to maintain good hygienic practices, avoid crowded areas, and boost the immune system by eating nutritious food and avoiding stress.
She said the DOH is on top of the situation and is taking the necessary steps to educate the public about the disease. The Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit is also a step ahead of the protocols prescribed by the DOH and the World Health Organization and has advised those who have come in close contact with the PUI to observe self-quarantine.
The WHO protocol prescribes that contact tracing will only be done if a PUI is infected of the 2019-nCoV.
Asst. City Health Services Officer Celia Brillantes said for the past two weeks the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit has intensified its information and education campaign regarding the infection. School administrators have been told to require students who are sick to wear masks, barangay officials will be asked to help in disseminating information, and businesses and other establishments will soon be required to institute sanitation methods such as provision of sanitizers to their clients.
Health experts also advised against self-medication. Dr. Crist Jamora, infectious diseases specialist of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, said there are people who have taken antibiotics with the belief that it can kill viruses. But apart from the fact that antibiotics are prescriptive medicines, antibiotics cannot help at all in treating viral diseases.
Jamora also debunked some information about the 2019-nCoV.
“There are information that the virus dies at five degrees Celsius, but these information have yet to be verified. Since it’s a new virus, marami pa tayong hindi alam.” – Rimaliza A. Opiña