A scary situation
By Leonardo Micua
IT was a scary situation that I could not share with my colleagues in the PUNCH after our presswork for our January 17 issue for fear it could unduly scare them and ruin their weekends with their respective families. Thank God, that’s over.
Two days after I joined a coverage in a town outside Dagupan last week, I received a text message from a friend that I read shortly after dinner sent chills down my spine. I was advised to practice social distancing at home because I was exposed to a suspected carrier who was earlier exposed to a co-worker found COVID-19 positive and who, in turn, got his infection from his sick son, a government employee.
That was one of the biggest scare in my life. Who would not be after being told I must isolate myself and take a swab test for COVID-19?
It meant that if I was infected with the virus, I might have brought it to the PUNCH newsroom and possibly transmitted the virus to my co-workers.
Little did I know that our PUNCH colleague Eva (who was among those exposed to the suspected COVID-19 positive), already texted Dr. Anna de Guzman, our provincial health officer, for advice on what we should do.
She said Dr. Anna’s advice was: Not to panic and no need to do a swab test till after the suspected carrier of the virus who we were exposed to is confirmed to have tested positive. If confirmed to be positive, we had to wait four to five days from the day of the exposure and to monitor if we felt any of the symptoms. If none, swabbing would not be necessary.
I told my wife what we had to do and we took the matter calmly, but agreed to be extra careful about our interaction inside our home. I had to sleep in one of our two rooms in the attic. To say I was restless the whole night would be an understatement.
For the next two days, I stayed home, kept myself isolated and just worked with my computers. I moved down from the attic to the dining room to eat when no one was there. Throughout I made a point to have my face mask on every time I left the attic.
We decided to end our self-isolation on Sunday when we did not feel any of the symptoms based on the guideline provided us by Dr. Anna, But to be sure, Eva texted our fellow worker suspected to have been infected and with whom we were exposed to, just to check on her condition. Eva said the lady simply laughed on learning what we went through She assured Eva that even that she, too, did not feel any of the symptoms, went about her work and didn’t need to have a swab test.
It was from that assurance that she was hale and hearty that I finally broke my self- isolation.
When Tuesday came, our co-PUNCH worker Rolly confirmed that he heard her doing her radio program like nothing unusual had happened to her.
Wednesday, I finally resumed to my news coverage. Only the following day did we receive a text message that the lady who we were exposed to registered negative in her RT-PCR test!
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My traumatic experience could happen to anyone at this time since we could not possibly know who is infected. We should adopt a pro-active attitude always instead of being reactive.
The adage “preparation is better than the cure” should remind us that we should follow the minimum standard health protocol – wear our masks and face shields, wash our hands frequently with soap and water, maintain social and physical distancing and consciously work on boosting our own immune system. These are our best protection against the coronavirus since it will still take some time before a vaccine finally rolls out in the country.
Who could possibly know that anyone walking down the street or commuting on a jeepney is a carrier of the virus and could infect us, until the symptoms manifest?
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While dining at a “pigar-pigar” eatery in J deV Highway last Wednesday, a group of six women and children Badjaos approached our table and asked for alms. All of them, in their dirty clothes that we suspected had not been washed for weeks, were not wearing masks.
They are vulnerable to infection and are potential carriers of the virus.
Perhaps the Dagupan Police, the POSO and the City Social Welfare Office are still not aware of their presence and activities in the city after the Christmas season. The city government must act before the contagion in the city gets any worse.
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