The Southern Philippines Medical Center’s isolation building is capable enough to address highly-contagious diseases like the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona virus (Mers-Cov) and even the dreaded Ebola virus.
But the sad note is that it can only accommodate up to three patients. Thus SPMC chief of clinics Dr. Ricardo Audan said that they have to turn away patients who have had contact with the female Filipino nurse who tested positive for Mers-Cov.
In an interview Thursday, Dr. Audan said that four relatives of the nurse submitted themselves for test after attending a gathering with the nurse. Audan said three of the four relatives were however advised to go home and isolate themselves from others since they are not manifesting symptoms of Mers-Cov and did not have a direct contact with the nurse.
DR. RICARDO AUDAN, SPMC CHIEF OF CLINICS
Audan explained that only those with symptoms and have had direct contact with the patient would be allowed to stay at the isolation building of the SPMC. At the moment, the nurse and her husband and a niece of the couple are already admitted at the isolation building.
Dr. Audan cautioned the public not to panic as the virus can only be contacted thru direct contact. He said all those who were onboard the same flights (Saudia Airline and Cebu Pacific) with the nurse but have not made any direct contact with her are not in immediate danger.
He said though that it is necessary that they still be traced and tested for Mers-Cov as a precaution.
Audan said all other regional hospitals in the country are already alerted to trace the passengers of the two flights and quarantine them until they are cleared of the Mers-Cov.
It was learned that the Filipino nurse was exposed to a Mers-Cov patient in Saudi Arabia last August 20. On August 25, she started feeling sick. She submitted for a check up two days after where she initially tested negative for Mers-Cov.
Then on August 28, the nurse boarded a Saudia Airlines flight SV870 with 249 passengers onboard. The nurse, a native of Banga, South Cotabato, arrived in the country from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last August 28.
She passed thru the thermal scan at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as she was still asymptomatic at that time.
From August 29-31, the nurse and her husband visited their relatives in Bulacan before flying to General Santos City onboard a Cebu Pacific flight SJ997 with 143 passengers.