Health and Fitness

This Is How Doctors Determine Whether You Might Have COVID-19

If your symptoms match these and you go to the emergency room, medical professionals will carry out DOH’s triage system.
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There are currently 33 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines, and there’s a growing fear a number of cases are going undetected. As the Senate panel yesterday pointed out, there aren’t enough testing kits for a population of 100 million, so the Department of Health has adopted an algorithm for triage for patients who might be showing signs of COVID-19.

Here’s how to differentiate the symptoms of the common cold and the flu from COVID-19:

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The symptoms of COVID-19 are primarily fever and dry cough. Other symptoms might be fatigue and difficulty breathing, and in serious cases, diarrhea.

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If your symptoms match these and you go to the emergency room, medical professionals will carry out DOH’s triage system. Here's what's you can expect if you think you have COVID-19. 

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Photo by DOH.

First, they will check your symptoms, then ask whether you have traveled to a country with a confirmed COVID-19 case or have been in contact in a confirmed COVID-19 case (same workplace, school, household).  If symptoms occurred within 14 days of arriving in the Philippines or making contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, you will automatically be considered a “patient under investigation” (PUI). You will then be admitted to a hospital’s designated COVID-19 isolation area.

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The doctors, equipped with protective gear, will then collect specimens from you for testing, and you may be transferred to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

However, “mild cases with no co-morbids (other medical conditions) can be sent home after testing, with instructions to quarantine.”

If you have not been to a country with a confirmed COVID-19 case or been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, doctors will check whether you have a severe acute respiratory infection or atypical pneumonia, and whether your household or workplace has a cluster of influenza-like cases. If yes to both, you will be considered a PUI and samples will be taken.

If not, you will be referred to the emergency room or another clinic for management.

Aside from PUIs, there are also, persons under monitoring (PUM) who are made up of asymptomatic patients with appropriate exposure history. These individuals will not require testing and will need to undergo home quarantine for up to 14 days. 

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Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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