Davao City to require RT-PCR tests, X-ray for patients

Photo by Macky Lim

THE City Government of Davao will require patients referred to any hospitals in the city, regardless of their address, to have a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test and chest X-ray results showing that they are negative for pneumonia.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio issued Executive Order (EO) No. 53 on Friday, September 25, requiring Covid-19 testing for patients referred to any hospitals in the city and for other purposes.

According to the EO, the following are mandatory test result requirements for admission and surgery in the city hospitals.

This is for patients, regardless of location of residence and their watchers or companions who are not residents of the city. The testing requirement includes negative RT-PCR result within 48 hours from admission or surgery, and chest X-ray showing that he or she is negative for pneumonia.

For walk-in consultation, all hospitals in the city "are encouraged to make it a policy to request results" for walk-in patients and their companions.

Non-resident referrals must have a prior endorsement by the referring hospital or doctor for both patients and their companions.

There must be coordination between the referring hospital or doctor, and the receiving hospital or doctor, the EO said.

"There must be a clear acknowledgment from the receiving hospital or doctor before the patient and his companions are allowed to travel to Davao City," the order states.

For emergency cases, all Davao City residents must be swabbed upon arrival at the hospital.

Cancer patients are required to undergo baseline RT-PCR testing and will be encouraged to continuously self-isolate. The need for further tests will be determined by the doctors. For non-Davao City resident cancer patients, a medical certificate from their oncologist issued within 24 to 48 hours before traveling to the city is required, and a baseline negative result must be attached to their medical certificate.

The city doctor or hospital, after their acknowledgment, must immediately submit to the Task Force Davao a list of names of patients and their companions that are allowed to enter the checkpoints.

A repeat testing will be made upon the arrival of patients and his companions.

The EO states that RT-PCR testing will be mandatory. Patients who refuse to undergo testing will be reported to the City Health Office and will be sent to the designated Covid-19 hospital of the region where they originated.

Duterte-Carpio said in a radio interview that the order aims to protect other hospitals that are not designated as Covid-19 referral hospitals.

The mayor said she already instructed Davao City hospitals accredited in accepting Covid-19 patients to protect other hospitals to continue on with their service to non-Covid-19 cases.

The Southern Philippines Medical Center and the Davao Doctor’s Hospital in Dumoy, Toril are currently Covid-19 referral hospitals in the city.

"Kung sugtan nato nga tanang hospital mag-[handle] og Covid-19 cases, mahurot atoang healthcare workers tungod everytime dunay mag-positive, mag-quarantine, mag-testing and of course, ato mga health care workers, tungod sa constant exposure, magkasakit. Mahitabo is mapiangan atoang mga hospital," Duterte-Carpio said in an interview via 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

(If we will let other hospitals handle Covid-19 cases, we will run short of healthcare workers since we will oblige them to self-quarantine whenever a patient turns out positive. Our hospitals will be paralyzed if this would happen.)

She said there have been previous cases that some walk-in patients who needed to undergo check-ups for non-Covid-19 health problems later tested positive for the Sars-CoV-2 when they became suspected Covid-19 patients.

"Ang goal nato na i-protect ang ubang hospitals from Covid-19 para makapadayon sila sa ilang non-Covid-19 na trabaho na dili nato mabuhat (Our goals is to protect other hospitals so that they can continue handling non-Covid-19 related cases),” Duterte-Carpio said.


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