Opposition senators question COVID-19 cases ‘mass recovery’ report of DOH

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Two opposition senators questioned Friday the report of the Department of Health (DOH) on “mass recovery” that said more than 37,000 mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients recovered on July 30.

“Wala pa ngang mass testing, may mass recovery na! Nakakalito at nakakaduda ang papalit-palit na reporting system sa COVID-19,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said.

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“Dahil sa kabagalan ng pag-collate at pag-report ng data, at ngayon pati sa recovered cases, nalilito na ang publiko,” she added.

Hontiveros asked DOH to clearly communicate to the public this new system of reporting of recovered COVID-19 patients.

“Data is vital. Hindi tayo makakatugon nang maayos kung hindi natin alam ang kumpletong larawan ng problema. People are anxious and tired. Huwag na nating dagdagan, DOH,” she added.

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DOH reported Thursday a total of 38,075 new recoveries in the country, 37,166 of which were mild or asymptomatic cases recorded in June and July who have been re-tagged as recovered. Regional and epidemiological surveillance reported 909.

Meanwhile, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan warned that the new measures for interpreting recoveries could give patients false security since they are not undergoing another swab test to confirm that they are free from the virus.

“May himala ba? May madyik? Ang mga doktor, dapat nagpapagaling sa pasyente, hindi nangdudoktor ng numero at impormasyon,” he said in a separate statement.

“Makakapanghawa at mas maraming magkakasakit pag ang maysakit ay tinawag na ‘recovered’ kung hindi naman ito na-test. Patayin ba ang taumbayan ang gustong mangyari ng gobyerno?” he added.

DOH explains mass recovery

DOH’s Department Memorandum 2020-0258 said asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19 should be tagged as recovered 14 days from onset of symptom or date of swab collection.

“Current recovery policies now show that at the 10th day of illness, the risk of transmitting the virus to other people is significantly reduced. This clinical recovery protocol is followed by the US CDC, European CDC, and India,” the DOH said in a statement.

“This is the norm – to NOT get tested. As long as no symptoms arise during the 14 days quarantine, the patient is considered recovered,” said Dr. Beverly Ho, DOH Director for Promotion and Communication Service.

“Test for infection uses TEST-BASED strategy. Test for recovery uses SYMPTOM-BASED strategy,” she added.

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