CEBU

Nalzaro: No Covid-19 infection yet

Saksi

I AM writing this as a matter of personal privilege. This is in view of numerous inquiries about my whereabouts since I have not been seen on my daily TV newscast, GMA 7 Cebu Balitang Bisdak, and heard on my daily radio commentary program over dySS for more than a week.

In fact, rumors spread sometime last week that I was infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). No. There was no truth to those rumors. I wasn’t infected. I am physically okay. I just took my leave of absence and to complete my 14-day voluntary quarantine. I still have more than two years of unused medical credits.

To set the record straight, weeks ago, I experienced dry cough and hoarse voice, which affected my daily broadcast on TV and radio. So I decided to take a leave of absence. I did not submit to a swab test because my doctor, Dr. Generoso “Gene” Matiga, told me I was suffering from an ordinary ailment, especially nowadays that it’s flu season. Dr. Matiga just advised me to take some medicines for the cough. After a few days, my cough was gone. There were no other symptoms associated with Covid-19. Mao gyud ni ang problema karon, naa kay lain nga sakit, ma-attached dayon sa Covid-19. Mao nang uban mahadlok na lang mopa-consult og doctor kay Covid dayon (This is the problem now, because when you’re sick with another ailment, it would be associated with Covid-19. That’s why some people are scared of consulting their doctors).

Had I been infected with the virus, I could have been “knocked down” or confined in the hospital. Why? Because I have pre-existing diseases like hypertension and diabetes. But, thank God, I am okay. Thank you for those who showed their concern and prayers. I’ll be back soon.

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Who are considered recovered? This has been a frequently asked question in view of retesting required by those Covid-19 positives. For me, it’s a total waste of time, effort and money when we always submit ourselves to testing (either rapid or swab test) when we are not so sure that we are negative today and we will be negative again tomorrow and the next day. It’s a neverending story.

The Department of Health (DOH) said that the “mass recovery adjustment” of Covid-19 patients last July 30 was based on scientific evidence after the agency reported a record high 38,075 recovered patients. That “mass recovery adjustment” sparked a firestorm of public criticisms. But during a virtual press briefing over the weekend, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire was asked about the basis for “assuming” that asymptomatic patients are considered recovered after 14 days.

“Let us not call it an assumption anymore. This is based on scientific evidence and experts across the globe are already backing this up and now being implemented in the different countries,” Vergeire said. She said that the other countries also follow the same criteria on tagging recovered patients.

“Yong clinical criteria hindi siya masyadong different from other criteria or countries. Pag nakita ng physician na na-resolve ang symptoms, we can already classify as clinically recovered,” Vergeire explained. She cited the case of the United States, although they only required 10 days of isolation, they also don’t require reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing to tag patients as recovered. Clinically recovered refers to patients who no longer show symptoms associated with Covid-19.

The Inter-Agency Task Force, in its 60th resolution, approved the DOH recommendation for a “time-based reckoning of recoveries” of mild and asymptomatic cases. What does this mean? Covid-19 patients who are mild and asymptomatic will be counted as recoveries after they complete the 14-day isolation period from the time they start showing symptoms of the disease or their samples are collected for testing.

This practice is what the World Health Organization and United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call a symptoms-based strategy for releasing Covid-19 patients from isolation. According to Vergeire, across countries, repeat testing is no longer required. Vergeire said “testing is a basis for infection — if a person has the virus or none.” She added that to say that a patient is already recovered, a RT-PCR, which is the “gold standard” test for Covid-19, is no longer required. She explained that whether a patient has recovered or not, we don’t use that anymore. Because RT-PCR, even as long as 55 days, yields positive results, but the person is already non-infectious.


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