The Department of Health on Saturday (March 7) raised its health alert level to Code Red as it confirmed another case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the wife of a patient earlier diagnosed with the infection, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 6.
The alert was raised as the department confirmed the country’s first case of local transmission in the 5th COVID-19 case, a 62-year-old man now suffering from severe pneumonia.
DOH Raises Code Red as COVID-19 Cases Rise to 6, Confirms Local Transmissions
On March 6 (Friday), the Department of Health also announced two new incidences of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which brought the total number of cases to five, until the wife of a patient earlier diagnosed with the infection was reported, as shared in a report by ABS CBN News.
Both the wife and her husband, the 62-year-old patient now suffering from severe pneumonia, are confined at the state-run Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
As per the DOH, a code red alert means all hospital personnel are required to report for duty in their respective facilities to provide medical services.
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Duque also explained that the alert was at Code Red, Sub-Level 1, explaining: “The DOH confirms that the previously reported 5th case of COVID-19 as the first case of local transmission in the country after verification with BI, showed that patient had no recent travel history.”
Furthermore, the health secretary clarified that raising the coronavirus alert to Code Red, Sub-Level 1 is “a preemptive call to ensure national and local government and public and private healthcare providers can prepare for a possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.
Duque explained that the higher Sub-Level 2 may only be raised if there are “established community transmissions” or unlinked clusters of cases” though it is quite premature to consider that at this point, he said.
And with the latest report of the man’s wife who tested positive for COVID-19 after contact-tracing activities were prompted, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country is now at 6.
In line with this, the woman, 59, experienced cough and was admitted to the RITM, and is currently in stable condition.
Her husband, the 5th COVID-19 case, has no history of travel outside the Philippines. He had coughs last Feb. 25 and was admitted at the private hospital Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City on March 1 with severe pneumonia.
According to the report, the man, who also suffers from hypertension and diabetes, frequented a Muslim prayer hall in San Juan. The worshipers in this prayer hall experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 have been asked to call the Department of Health hotline (02) 8651 7800 local 1149 o 1150 for referral to a health facility.
As per the DOH, the first 3 COVID-19 cases in the Philippines involved Chinese nationals with a history of travel to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. One of them died of severe pneumonia on Feb. 1 while two recovered and have returned home.
Meanwhile, the fourth case, a 48-year-old Filipino man, had traveled to Japan, which has recorded 349 confirmed cases and 6 deaths from the illness.