Isko: Care for GABMMC patients continues; medical center closes ER as 8 frontliners COVID-19 positive

Isko Moreno
Mayor Isko Moreno flashes the ‘God, First!’ together with his staff led by his executive assistant and right-hand Weng Santiago (behind Moreno) during a Facebook live session past 3 a.m. Photo shows the staff working overnight and busy putting cash aid in envelopes for distribution to the residents. Photo by JERRY S. TAN

THE Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center (GABMMC), which services residents of the densely-populated first district of Tondo, will have to close down its emergency room and triage area up to May 5, after eight of their health care workers, including doctors and nurses, were infected with the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Mayor Isko Moreno broke the news in his public address, as he assured the patients already confined in the said hospital will still be taken cared of and that the city health personnel will take advantage of the closure to clean and disinfect the said areas.

The mayor also appealed for understanding on the part of Tondo residents but assured that the GABMMC, which is headed by Dr. Ted Martin and which houses the biggest dialysis center in the country, will continue serving the needs of the dialysis patients and all other units will remain operational but only for those who are already admitted there.

“Tuloy po ang serbisyo ng ating dialysis dahil ang building nito dahil it is situated sa ibang building adjacent to Gat Andres building,” Moreno explained.

With regard to new and emergency cases, Moreno said they will be duly referred to the five other city-run hospitals namely Ospital ng Tondo, Justice Abad Santos General Hospital, Ospital ng Sampaloc, Ospital ng Maynila and the Sta. Ana Hospital

The temporary closure of the ER and triage area, Moreno said, took effect on April 28 right upon learning that its eight medical personnel composed of two doctors, nurses and other staff members were tested positive for COVID-19.

Martin lamented that a factor that had been contributing to medical personnel getting infected is the fact that some patients lie about their real condition, giving other reasons for seeking a checkup such as headache, stomach pain, chest pain or dizziness when in fact, they suspect they have COVID-19 and actually have the symptoms already.

Moreno appealed to the patients to be honest when they go to the hospitals to seek help regarding any medical condition, particularly if they feel they have the COVID-19 symptoms.

“Pakiusap lamang… kung ang nararamdaman ninyo ay parang sintomas ng coronavirus , ‘wag po ninyong ikubli..wag kayong matakot.  May pag-asa.  Sa pagkukubli ay baka maapektuhan ang ating   mga mahal sa buhay, ang ating mga dokor at nurses…yan ang isang dahilan kung bakit marami sa ating medical sector and naoimpeksyon o nahahawa, dahil sa pagkukubli natin sa bagay na ito. Mas maagang malaman, mas mabilis kayong mabibigyan ng medical attention.  Magtatapat po tayo lagi pag nagpupunta sa ospital,” Moreno said.

Of the eight medical personnel who tested positive for the virus, it was learned that four have been brought to the Rizal Stadium COVID facility, two are on self-quarantine while two are now under recovery.

As of this writing,  Martin said the GABMMC has more than 30 non-COVID patients who will continue to be taken care of on orders of Moreno.

The first district of Tondo ranks second to Sampaloc when it comes to the areas in Manila with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, followed by Tondo 2.