THE Department of Health (DOH) 7, on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, said the number of healthcare workers in Cebu currently infected with the coronavirus disease has risen to 33.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson, said of the number, 23 are asymptomatic while the rest exhibited mild symptoms.

Loreche said only one works at a private hospital while the rest are from the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).

She said those with mild symptoms are currently admitted in the hospital while the rest are quarantined in a DOH facility.

Of the Covid-infected healthcare workers, 12 are nurses, nine are doctors, eight are institutional workers, one is a radiologic technician, two are nursing attendants and one is from security personnel.

Lawyer Rey Cris Panugaling, head of VSMMC’s Information, Communication and Strategy Management Office, said the increase in the number of Covid-positive workers is a “normal result” of continued swabbing and contact tracing done on those who recently came in contact with the first batch of healthcare workers found positive for Covid-19.

The VSMMC, in an advisory issued this week, said it detected a clustering of cases from the operating room (OR) of the hospital where 18 healthcare workers had contracted Covid-19.

The 18 comprised four doctors, seven nurses, two nursing attendants and five institutional workers.

Loreche said based on a report submitted to them, it appeared that the infection started with one of the OR nurses who reported for duty last Dec. 28 though he was reportedly not feeling well.

The sick nurse assisted in a surgical procedure in the operating room of the hospital even with his condition.

Those who were part of the operating team had themselves tested for SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, on Jan. 2 and yielded positive results.

With this, the VSMMC temporarily closed its OR from Jan. 5 until 7 for decontamination, infection prevention and infection control.

The hospital will, however, continue to accommodate emergency surgical procedures.

The DOH 7 then reminded healthcare workers to just stay home or have themselves tested first before reporting for duty if they are feeling ill at any given period.

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