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  • DOH Confirms More Than 700 Health Workers Test Positive For COVID-19

    Out of the 766, 339 were doctors and 242 were nurses.
    by Ana Gonzales .
DOH Confirms More Than 700 Health Workers Test Positive For COVID-19
PHOTO BY iStock
  • In a televised media briefing, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire confirmed that more than 700 Filipino health workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

    "Unfortunately, 22 of these healthcare workers have lost their lives to COVID-19," she said. Out of the 766, 339 were doctors and 242 were nurses. The DOH no longer mentioned the exact profession of the other 185 healthcare workers.

    DOH announced in a Facebook post that they're currently conducting emergency hiring of medical workers. The agency is currently looking for physicians, nurses, medical technologists, respiratory therapists, medical equipment technicians, and even ambulance drivers.

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    Monthly compensation and benefits include Php500 a day COVID-19 hazard allowance, Php1,000 a month communication and transportation allowance, and hospitalization benefits shouldered by PhilHealth among others.

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    The health personnels that will be hired shall be deployed first to DOH-designated COVID-19 referral hospitals and then to temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.

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    According to Dr. Oscar Tinio, spokesman and former president of the Philippine Medical Association, the staggering number of deaths of healthcare workers is due to the fact that some patients have lied to doctors about their travel history or whether they were exposed to the virus.

    Vergeire admitted the same to CNN Philippines, saying "Some of them (doctors) died because their patients were not able to disclose their full information, thereby giving them that increased risk."

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    Among the healthcare workers who passed away fighting this war against COVID-19 are Philippine Pediatric Society president Dr. Sally Gathcalian, Pampanga health chief Dr. Marcelo Jaochico, cardiologist Israel Bactol of the Philippine Heart Center, anesthesiologist Gregorio Macasaet III of Manila Doctors Hospital, oncologist Rose Pulido of the San Juan de Dios Hospital, and cardiologist and internist Raul Jara.

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    Other countries have also seen an increase in the number of frontliners succumbing to the disease after being exposed to countless of infected patients. Vergeire also said some healthcare workers contracted the disease because of the lack of protective gear. "Most doctors got the disease because we lacked the necessary protective equipment to be used against it," she said.

    "Transparency is an obligation," as veteran journalist and COVID-19 survivor Howie Severino said in an article he on GMA News Online. "It's not fair to anyone who has had close contact with you," he said. "For the greater good, we are required to disclose our COVID-19 status to the Department of Health. Contact tracing can go a long way in preventing its further spread."

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    As of writing, there are now a total of 5,878 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. Since the start of the pandemic, over 400 patients have recovered and more than 300 have died.

    For more stories and news about COVID-19, click here.

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