ASK AN EXPERT: Should you get tested for COVID-19 if you have flu-like symptoms?

by Nikko Tuazon
Mar 9, 2020
At a press briefing on Monday, March 9, Department of Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire confirms the 10 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines. The latest DOH update has raised the total confirmed cases in the country to 24.
PHOTO/S: Screengrab from Department of Health (Philippines) on Facebook

The Department of Health has confirmed there are 10 new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his recent statement, mentioned that four more people were tested positive.

This brings the total number of cases in the country to 24.

At a press briefing on Monday, March 9, Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the results of the testing conducted on samples collected from March 6, Friday, to March 8, Sunday, were released earlier today.

WHAT ARE COVID-19 SYMPTOMS?

With the rising cases of COVID-19, Dr. Vergeire encouraged those who are experiencing signs and symptoms of the disease to get tested.

These include fever, dry cough, fatigue, productive phlegm, sore throat, and headache.

When should you get tested for COVID-19?

Dr. Vergeire, however, emphasized that testing patients with possible COVID-19 cases are concentrated only on those with travel history to countries with confirmed local transmission of the disease and/or those with direct contact to confirmed COVID-19 patients.

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The health official said, "Nabalitaan namin na halos ang dami na ng mga tao na nagfa-flock ng mga facilities ngayon, yung ating mga hospital para magpa-test.

"Ang lagi po nating tatandaan, ganun pa rin po ang susundin natin na criteria based on our decision tool.

"Kung ikaw ay may sintomas na related sa COVID-19 plus may history po kayo ng travel to affected areas or those with local transmission plus/or exposure to a positive case.

"Halimbawa po, ako po ay pumunta sa isang bansa na may local transmission, umuwi po ako dito 'tapos nakakaramdam ako ng sintomas related to COVID-19, pupunta ako sa ospital, ite-test nila ako kasi pumasok ako dun sa criteria.

"Or halimbawa, ako ay naging ka-opisina nung isang may positibong kaso, and I had direct interaction with him, 'tapos nag-exhibit ako ng signs and symptoms, pag pumunta ako sa ospital, ako ay ite-test nila. Nag-qualify ako sa criteria."

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WHAT COUNTRIES HAVE CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19?

According to a report by the World Health Organization on Sunday, March 8, over 100 countries have now reported laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

More than 50 of them have local transmission.

These countries include South Korea, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Belgium, among many others. (For the full list, click this link.)

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ONLY HAVE FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS?

Meanwhile, Dr. Vergeire encouraged those who do not fall under these criteria but exhibit flu-like symptoms to do self-isolation and stay home until they get better.

She said, "Yung mga tao na nakakaramdam ng parang trinatrangkaso sila or nakakaramdam ng simtomas na related to COVID-19, pero walang history ng travel sa mga bansa na may localized transmission o di kaya walang history of exposure to those positive cases, ay hindi kailangang mabahala.

"Mababa ang risk niyo. Ang kailangan lang gawin, mag-monitor sa bahay ng kanilang sintomas.

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"Pag nag-progress ang kanilang sakit, tumawag sa kanilang doktor o di kaya ay magpatingin.

"Pero hindi agad-agarang kailangan i-test ang mga tao."

WILL COVID-19 DIE IN SUMMER HEAT?

In February, several reports claimed that COVID-19 will disappear in the summer heat as sunlight and temperature above 26-27 degrees Celsius "will cut the virus’ ability to grow in half."

However, Dr. Vergeire clarified that this report is not yet conclusive.

She explained, "Marami na hong nagsasabi tungkol diyan pero pag tinignan natin, merong ibang bansa na mainit din pero mataas ang kaso.

"So ibig sabihin po, hindi ko po sinasabi na mali o hindi totoo, hindi ko rin sasabihing tama.

"Kailangan pa po natin ng mas maraming pag-aaral para ma-prove natin at magkaroon ng ebidensiya na ang virus na ito ay namamatay sa init ng araw."

WHAT TO AVOID GIVEN THE COVID-19 THREAT?

Dr. Vergeire encouraged the public to practice "proper hand hygiene, social distancing, and cough etiquette" as well as "refrain from visiting public places and attending mass gatherings" to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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FOUR COVID-19 PATIENTS IN THE PHILIPPINES

On Sunday, March 8, DOH confirmed four new cases of COVID-19 patients and provided the following details:

"The 7th case (PH7) is a 38-year-old Taiwanese male. The patient has a history of contact with a Taiwanese foreign national who visited the Philippines and tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan. The patient has no history of travel outside of the country and his symptoms started last March 3. He is currently admitted to a private hospital.

"The 8th case (PH8) is a 32-year-old Filipino male with history of travel to Japan within the past 14 days. Onset of symptoms began on March 5 and the patient is currently admitted to a private hospital.

"The 9th case (PH9) is an 86-year-old American male with pre-existing hypertension and history of travel to USA and South Korea. Symptoms began on 1 March 2020 and the patient is currently admitted to a private hospital.

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"The 10th case (PH10) is a 57-year-old Filipino male with no history of travel outside of the country. He was reported to have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, however, DOH is currently investigating details of his exposure. The patient is currently admitted to a private hospital."

Dr. Vergeire said these four COVID-19 cases are all in stable condition, and are currently treated in various hospitals across Metro Manila.

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At a press briefing on Monday, March 9, Department of Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire confirms the 10 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines. The latest DOH update has raised the total confirmed cases in the country to 24.
PHOTO/S: Screengrab from Department of Health (Philippines) on Facebook
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