PCP rues effect of rising cases on health workers

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    ASIDE from battling rising cases of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases among their ranks, health care workers may struggle anew from exhaustion due to the alarming increase in the number of infections, according to the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP).

    Based on the March 12 data of the Department of Health, 15,145 health care workers have tested positive for the deadly virus, with 308 active cases, 82 deaths and 14,755 recoveries.

    “More healthcare workers are getting sick, and hospital beds are again becoming less available. Should we gear up for another lockdown? The frontliners, who haven’t fully recovered from exhaustion, might struggle again to face another battle,” the PCP said in a statement as it expressed concern over the effects of the rising cases to medical frontliners, both on their own health and their workload.

    “COVID-19 cases in the community are rising again with infection rates approaching those of July 2020, when the number of new cases was peaking,” the PCP said.

    The organization called on the people to strictly comply with minimum public health standards to help prevent the imposition of stricter community quarantines and not overwhelm healthcare facilities.

    “Stay home if you can. Continue adherence to the minimum health standards even while at home. Wash your hands. Wear your mask and face shield. Keep distance from others,” it said.

    “We cannot endure another lockdown because of its dire socio economic impact. We have vaccinated only a fraction of our priority groups so we still need to intensify our compliance to the minimum health standards to prevent further spread, knowing that the variants co-exist,” added PCP.

    In its latest bulletin, the DOH reported 4,899 new cases and a total of 621,498 infections, counting the 4,578 cases last Friday and 5,000 last Saturday.

    Sixty-three more succumbed to the deadly virus, raising the death toll to 12,829 for a case fatality rate of 2.06 percent.

    There were 13,371 more recoveries, meaning the number of survivors has risen to 560,512.

    But there remained 48,157 active cases, of which 91.8 percent are mild cases, 4.2 percent asymptomatic cases, 1.6 percent severe cases, 1.6 percent critical cases, and 0.80 percent moderate cases.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs said it did not receive reports of new cases among overseas Filipinos from its 94 embassies and consulates.

    As of March 12, the DFA reported that 15, 876 overseas Filipinos have contracted the deadly disease, with 9,554 having recovered and 5,281 still undergoing treatment. The death toll stands at 1,041.

    Meanwhile, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Wilkins Villanueva has tested positive for the virus, a few days after PNP chief Debold Sinas contracted the virus.

    Villanueva said he took an RT-PCR test at the Chinese General Hospital on Saturday in preparation for a Senate inquiry on the February 24 misencounter between PDEA and PNP operatives in Commonwealth, Quezon City that left five people dead.

    “This morning I received the result. I tested positive,” said Villanueva. He apologized to people he had been in contact with for the past days and asked them to “take necessary precaution.”

    Villanueva said he is asymptomatic and is not aware of how he got the disease. – With Ashzel Hachero and Victor Reyes