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Bulacan Provincial Health Office clarifies COVID-19 testing protocols, observes world TB Day
By: PPAO
Wednesday, 25 March 2020
CITY OF MALOLOS - Governor Daniel R. Fernando instructed the The Provincial Health Office-Public Health in one with the Department of Health to clarify the protocols on Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing to avoid panic among the public while observing the World Tuberculosis Day today, March 24, 2020.

According to the PHO-PH, there have been many questions as to where or how a person can be tested from the said deadly virus and that a clarification is deemed necessary.

“Naiintindihan natin na marami ang natatakot, pero lagi po nating isipin na hindi lahat ay kailangan magpatest. Ayon sa algorithm na nilabas ng DOH noong March 16, 2020, tanging mga Patient Under Investigation (PUI) lang na pasok sa alinman sa kategoryang elderly o nakatatanda, may malalang kondisyon o sintomas o may iba pang sakit gaya ng diabetes, sakit sa bato ang dapat isailalim sa test,” Dr. Jocelyn Gomez, PHO-PH head, said.

Gomez also clarified that PUIs are persons who have history of exposure to a confirmed COVID case and also including those who had recent travel abroad or place with COVID-19 case and are showing signs and symptoms.

However, the public health officer stressed that persons under monitoring (PUM) or the people who have exposure but shows no signs and symptoms no need to have polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test but are encouraged to do self quarantine for 14 days.

As per DOH, currently there are only five laboratories that has the capacity to do the PCR testing including the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine in Metro Manila, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center in Baguio City, San Lazaro Hospital in Metro Manila, Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.

Patricia Alvaro, Health Education and Promotion Officer, said that “matapos kunan ng specimen ang mga PUI na pasok sa kategorya ng DOH, ang PHO ang nagpa-facilitate na madala sa ito sa RITM at ang resulta ay malalaman matapos ang 24-48 oras."

She also said that to lessen distress and overthinking on whether what they are feeling is really a symptom of COVID-19, they can visit the nearest health centers or rural health units for consultation.

“Sila na rin ang mag-re-refer sa inyo sa ospital sakaling ang inyong sintomas ay severe at magre-rekomenda rin kung kayo ay dapat sumailalim sa COVID-19 test,” Alvaro added.

Moreover, according to the DOH, all expenses for COVID-19 testing for PhilHealth members are free.
The DOH also announced that as part of the observance of World TB Day, TB patients who are currently under treatment can get a one month supply of TB medicines that will be delivered to their homes.

Furthermore, Fernando is pleading to the public to stay at home and do their part in this war against COVID-19.
Based on Bulacan COVID-19 Surveillance update as of March 24, 2020, 4PM, there are 9 confirmed cases from which there are two COVID Deaths. There are 221 active PUIs while 666 are PUMs.

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