One patient under investigation (PUI) for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Iloilo recently died without knowing if he was infected or not.
Mayor Jerry Treñas revealed this as one of the reasons why he is contemplating on putting Iloilo City in lockdown to prevent the spread of the fatal disease.
In an interview over Firingline program of Aksyonradyo Iloilo, Treñas said that there is a 57-year-old PUI who died yesterday, March 17. He was diabetic and hailed from Iloilo province.
Health authorities have not taken the specimen samples of the patient because his mucous membrane dried up when he died. The patient has no travel history abroad but had dealings with person who came from abroad.
Dr. Jessie Glen Alonsabe, Regional Epidemiologist sang DOH-6, however clarified that the PUI from Ajuy, Iloilo died from stroke, not COVID-19. He maintained that Western Visayas still has no confirmed case of the disease.
Treñas said that he is very worried about the continuous increase in the number of PUIs in Iloilo, and the city has no capabilities to confirm COVID-19 infection as there is still no testing kits in Iloilo.
This is one of the reasons why Treñas is considering to lockdown Iloilo City to stop the spread of COVID-19.
[Related: Treñas mulls Iloilo City lockdown]
Treñas also revealed that some doctors in the city told him that there are patients in hospitals with symptoms of COVID-19 but have not been tested yet.
“I’ve been talking to several doctors, private practitioners, and they are really pushing for [lockdown]. They feel that there admitted to hospitals with all the signs and symptoms of positive COVID-19 patients. But considering that we do not have test kits, we do not have a way of confirming if they are positive or not,” Treñas said. “They are really pushing me to go over the fence and declare a lockdown.”
There are also specimens of PUIs in the Department of Health (DOH) Regional Office 6 that have expired because those were not immediately sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for testing, Treñas added.
Dr. Mary Jane Juanico of DOH Regional Office 6 confirmed that they had to take repeat samples “because our transport media only lasts for 72 hours.”
“We have sent samples of all our currently admitted patients,” Juanico said.
Iloilo City has three laboratory centers capable of conducting COVID-19 test, but there are no testing kits and no accredited medical technologist to use it.
Treñas assured that the city government will do everything to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Panay and Guimaras.
“We have to do all means that are available to us to make sure that the city, the province, the whole island of Panay and Guimaras are all safe for everyone,” Treñas said.