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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, September 12, 2020
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MIA: Missing in action

Rock & Refuge

A news report yesterday from Digicast Negros quoted Bacolod Councilor Renecito Novero that some of those who tested positive during the recent mass testing are now missing in action.

By the way, Digicast Negros has been put up by former ABS-CBN broadcasters who feel that information should not be deprived, especially during these times and my hats off to them – Barbara Mijares, Romeo Subaldo, Marty Go and Martian Muyco.

According to Novero, locating these patients have become difficult as some jotted down wrong contact information. Health personnel and barangay workers tasked to pick up these patients for facility quarantine now that home quarantine is prohibited, are facing a blank wall.

Novero appealed to those who have yet to get their results to approach their respective barangays because if they are positive and have not been quarantined, the chances of spreading the virus is likely.

I hope that it’s a simple case of undecipherable writing of information and not purposely done to avoid mandatory quarantine especially with the horrible stories coming out from facilities.

I’ve had friends who were picked up and brought to various schools serves as quarantine facilities. Contrary to the general perception that only one patient is accommodated in each room, the reality is, there are at least four in a room with a divider in between and everyone in that floor use a common bathroom.

The situation is better for those quarantined in newer schools established after the DepEd requirement that classrooms must have their own toilet. A friend even told me that her male colleague was placed in a room with a stranger, and a woman at that with just a divider between them.

We are not even talking about the children and the trauma they will likely experience from being brought to a strange environment. Good if they have an adult relative who also tested positive and can be with them. But what if none? What are the provisions in place for these children? What about the elderly?

We have military men in charge of a public health crisis and it is obvious they are using a militaristic approach. But fishing out the positives from their homes without care for their welfare may just bring more damage than good to the patient’s psyche.

DOH then allowed home quarantine for as long as quarantine provisions are met in a home. If there are more positives in a household, a lockdown ensues and this has worked for many, especially if they are asymptomatic. So why change what was working well at less expense to government?

Soon we will have new isolation facilities that DPWH will put up in Brgy. Alijis. Of course the report was met with scepticism after they claim that the facilities will be done by the end of the month or within 20 days. Are we China that we can magically build buildings in a matter of days?

But apparently, Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya said construction of those facilities have started some time ago and only announced now. Hmmm, why keep the info hidden? Oh well, I’m just glad that we will have decent isolation facilities soon.

Our Visayan Daily Star family has not been spared by COVID-19. Shiela Gelera, our reporter, is presently quarantined at the Silay Healing Center.

Carla Gomez is also in the hospital after experiencing all symptoms that point to COVID-19. Her case is quite weird as she already tested negative twice. It started when she manifested symptoms over a week ago, prompting her to take the test. First result was negative. Early this week, she developed fever and because she is asthmatic, Carla experienced respiratory difficulty. She was advised to swab again because the first test may have been done too soon after her exposure.

Wednesday, she had her second test, along with the rest of her family. However, because of her symptoms, Carla was advised by her doctors to get herself admitted. Despite feeling scared, she bravely drove herself to the hospital that night since there were no ambulances available.

Carla is ready to accept she is positive because of her symptoms plus finding out that she developed bilateral pneumonia. However, her second test still came back negative while two in her household tested positive and two were negative.

Another round of RT-PCR test was ordered by her doctors, the third this time. Results are expected to be out today and if it is still negative then it may just be plain pneumonia. However, if that is the case, it may be prudent to check all protocols in diagnosing COVID-19.

Carla remains in high spirits but worries about mounting hospitalization costs. After seeing the P4,500 daily charges for PPEs, she told her nurses to just text her if they need information like her vitals as she knows how to monitor them instead of entering her room to avoid the charges.

Yesterday, as we were talking, she cut me short saying she had to eat as she was hungry. Apparently, loss of taste and smell is not yet lost on her thus, perhaps, it may not be COVID at all. We pray it aint.*

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