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  • New Trend Shows Whole Families Are Getting COVID-19. How It Happens

    It takes only one person to infect the whole family.
    by Rachel Perez .
  • PHOTO BY Jerome Ascano

    According to Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., Chief Implementer of the Philippines’ Declared National Policy Against COVID-19, hospitals see a rising trend in COVID-19 infections. It shows that not just individual infections but whole families and groups of people getting sick due to being exposed in the workplace or attending family gatherings.  

    "The trend has changed. Now, the patients are not just one family but multiple families. This means the transmissions are happening in the workplace and what we call family celebrations," Galvez said in Filipino during a press briefing on August 3.

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    According to a report on Rappler, as of August 3, the Department of Health (DOH) identified that 63 out of 887 infected clusters were found in workplaces, transportation, and accommodations.

    Galvez blamed it on "grave violations" in observing minimum health standards. These are prevalent in offices' common areas such as canteens and smoking areas. He suggested private companies conduct orientation seminars for their employees to ensure that they follow minimum health standards.

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    The minimum health standard includes mandatory and proper wearing a mask, diligent handwashing, disinfecting, and social distancing of at least one meter apart. Non-essential mass gatherings, including family get-togethers, should also be banned. 

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    Family-wide transmissions are also more common now due to family reunions, Galvez pointed out. New cases in provinces that previously have none were traced to a family member residing in high-risk areas, such as Metro Manila, who attended a family reunion.

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    Other causes of whole families getting infected were among families residing in tiny houses, which prevent them from implementing social distancing, in poor urban communities. Another reason for the spread is when a patient with mild cases are turned away by hospitals due to lack of beds.  

    Studies have shown that once the virus enters a home, it can easily be spread from one person to another. (Check here the guidelines for home isolation.) The government recently imposed a requirement that COVID-19 patients without their own room and bathroom need to be brought to accredited isolation facilities. 

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