The Center for Health Development (CHD) of the Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas continues to strengthen its preparations against the novel coronavirus (2019nCoV).
Dr. Ma. Sophia Pulmones, chief of the Local Health Support Division of CHD 6, said the code white alert has been raised in Western Visayas as early as January 22.
An incident command system (ICS) has been also established with DOH regional director Marlyn Convocar as the responsible official.
Health authorities met Tuesday afternoon with infectious disease specialists from the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod to get their opinion on issuing local and regional advisories and guidelines especially on case management, infection prevention and control, case detection and surveillance.
Health facilities identified by provinces where persons under investigation will be admitted or observed will also be assessed, she added.
These health facilities will be assessed on their screening, and isolation, clinical management, transport of patients and risk communication, Pulmones said during a press conference on Tuesday.
She said they will be prepositioning personal protective equipment (PPE) and N95 masks in case there will be a surge in number of persons under investigation. Proper training on how the equipment is donned will also be undertaken.
Prior this week, Pulmones said they already met with the provincial health officers of Aklan and Iloilo due to the presence of international airports in these two areas.
We have to ensure that the ports of entry in Western Visayas are properly activated and covered, she said.
The Rafael Tumbokon Memorial Provincial Hospital was also assessed because it was designated by the province of Aklan as the health facility where persons under investigation would be examined or admitted.
Regional Epidemiologist Dr. Glen Alosabe said the region is negative of the 2019nCoV.
The three persons under investigation who all have history of travel to Wuhan, China are all out of the hospital.
We have received reports already of their laboratory tests and all of them were negative for the ncoronavirus, he said.
Meanwhile, DOHCHD officials reiterated the need for the public to take precautionary measures to protect themselves from respiratory infections.
In its advisory, the health department explained that coronavirus is an emerging infectious disease however, simple protection measures lower the risk of the infection.
These include frequent hand washing with soap and water, and observe proper cough etiquette.
Also, avoid close contact with people showing cold or flulike symptoms and those with unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
Moreover, it is also important that food is cooked thoroughly.
Source: Philippines News agency