With the number of Philippine COVID 19 cases breaching the 100 mark (140 at latest count) and the number of deaths at 11, a disturbing development has now happened. The Philippine Heart Center had a COVID 19 mortality and as a result 39 of its staff are under quarantine. The PHC Medical Director announced that no new patient admissions would be entertained until the hospital gets back into full (or at least more manageable) personnel strength. Considering that in the past 24 hours, there were 47 announced new confirmed cases (from 64 to 111), today the Department of Health added another 29 confirmed cases bringing the total to 140, it is very clear that more cases are now being diagnosed per day. Should this 50 something new cases per day persist for next week then it would be easy to calculate a 200 confirmed cases level at the start of the week and possibly 300 to 400 confirmed COVID 19 cases at the end of the week. This level is bound to take its toll on the big Metro Manila hospitals when their own physicians, nurses, med techs, rad techs, physical therapists, aides, orderlies, janitors and security guards begin (as it has already begun) to become patients themselves. Should the Philippine confirmed cases growth curve follow those exhibited by China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France and Spain then we may be seeing 100 new cases confirmed per day starting 7 days from today. In other words, we could just be 14 days away from reaching the 1,000 confirmed COVID 19 cases level.
What would be the implication of this to the average Metro Manila citizen? One, the National Capital Region health care delivery system could be SWAMPED with cases. Some hospitals, as already implemented by the Philippine Heart Center, may not take in new admissions. More hospitals may limit admissions. The idea of total closure is beyond imagination because at a minimum, patients already admitted would be allowed to heal in the normal course of their disease and would be discharged upon completion of the medical treatment plan. Only a MAJOR BREAK in protocol wherein all confined patients would have a high risk of getting infected with the corona virus would an emergency transfer of all patients to other facilities be done. This would happen when patients previously admitted for other conditions (normal delivery, elective surgery and other non-respiratory admissions) SUDDENLY and UNEXPECTEDLY develop flu like symptoms with the more serious cases testing POSITIVE for COVID 19. This could only mean that those patients got the COVID 19 during their hospital stay for non-COVID infirmities. A massive transfer of these patients would also put other hospitals at risk thus possibly crippling the hospital operations of more health facilities.
At this time Metro Manila is now on COMMUNITY QUARANTINE which would hopefully prevent, reduce or at least delay the rate of transmission of the dreaded disease. It may take at least a week or two before we may see the full (hopefully positive) effect of this emergency measure. Thus Metro Manila is in a RACE against TIME, meaning we are all banking on the community quarantine to FREEZE the spread at the same time that we know that there could be dozens (or, heaven forbid hundreds) of positive cases (but still undetected) that could be spreading COVID 19 at this very minute and the cases would only manifest in a week or two.
A new source of test kits from the University of the Philippines is in the works and would increase the number of test kits necessary to diagnose every individual with the COVID 19 disease.
Vaccines are being tested which would be the true game changer in stopping the spread of COVID 19. Various medicines are also being tried out (mainly those that have shown stopping power against the other corona viruses).
The Department of Health confirmed 140 COVID 19 cases with 11 deaths. DOH called on the public to be vigilant and practice personal preventive measures such as proper hand hygiene, social distancing, and cough etiquette.
DOH also called on people to refrain from visiting public places and/or attending mass gatherings.