LEGAZPI CITY — The Department of Health (DOH) 5 (Bicol) reported here Thursday that the five persons under investigation (PUIs) for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) have all tested negative and two of them have been discharged from the hospital.

            “The three PUIs are from Albay and were admitted (to) the Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital as one of the referral hospitals in the region. Based on the results from the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine), the three tested negative for Covid-19, and two were already discharged. Camarines Norte has also one PUI admitted (to the) Bicol Medical Center, also negative and is set to be discharged, and the other one PUI is in Masbate, and also tested negative (for) Covid-19,” Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH-5 director, said in a press conference.

            Vera added that surveillance is being strengthened as there are 12 persons under monitoring (PUMs) in the region.“Six are in Camarines Sur, five in Sorsogon, and one in Masbate. All other provinces have none,” he said.

            The DOH Center for Health Development (CHD) in Bicol reiterated its protocol on reporting possible cases of Covid-19.

            “While the DOH-CHD Bicol would like to provide you with the correct information real-time, it needs to follow certain protocols for surveillance and reporting of infectious diseases, including Covid-19, that are mandated by the World Health Organization, especially that this health event has been declared as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. (The) DOH central office shall be the first to announce cases of this disease, PUIs, and persons under monitoring to ensure that information are validated by the authorized unit of the DOH,” Vera said.

            He encouraged the public to disseminate correct information on the prevention of Covid-19.

            “Rest assured that DOH-Bicol, together with the local government units, hospitals, and all agencies involved in addressing this new disease are working diligently on their preparedness plans so that Bicolanos will be protected from this disease,” Vera added. “We are continuously reviewing protocols and guidelines which might need improvement and listening to all stakeholders to better respond to their needs in these trying times. We are also continuously monitoring persons with travel history in China, Macau, and Hong Kong in the whole region.”

            Vera explained that a PUI exhibits symptoms of the Covid-19 and has a history of travel to China and other countries with confirmed cases of Covid-19 while PUMs manifest no symptoms but with history of travel to countries with confirmed Covid-19 infection.  (PNA Connie Calipay)