All patients referred to hospitals in Davao City besides the Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC) are now required to submit results of their reverse transmission-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) taken within 24 to 48 hours to protect healthcare workers from unnecessary exposure to COVID-19.

Watchers of these patients will also be required to present their RT-PCR test results.

This after Davao City recorded cases of Covid-19 positive patients who had medical check-ups for other illnesses in hospitals not assigned to receive coronavirus cases. The city government only assigned SPMC as the receiving medical facility for all coronavirus-related cases to protect healthcare workers and patients in other hospitals. 

The requirement for RT-PCR test of patients was set in the latest Executive Order No. 53 of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte issued on Friday, September 25, 2020. 

“Kung pasagdan nato siya nga magsige og kahitabo sa atoang hospitals, ang katong goal nato nga iprotect ang tanang hospitals from Covid-19 para makapadayon sila sa ilahang Non-Covid nga pagtrabaho, dili nato mabuhat (If we allow this happen in our hospitals, our goal of protecting and allowing non-Covid hospitals to continue with their non-Covid work will not happen),” she said on Friday’s Special Hour broadcasted over Davao City Disaster Radio.

Section 1 of the EO 53 sets the mandatory test result requirements for admission and surgery in Davao City hospitals. 

For a patient regardless of the location of residence and watcher/companions of a patient who is not a resident of Davao City: a negative RT-PCR result with a specimen taken 24 to 48 hours from admission or surgery and a Chest-Xray, that is negative for Pneumonia taken within 24 to 48 hours from admission or surgery. 

For a resident of Davao City and is a watcher or companion of a patient, a Chest-Xray result with negative for pneumonia taken within 24 to 48 hours from admission or surgery is needed.

All Davao City hospitals are encouraged to make it a policy to request the results required under Section 1 for walk-in patients and their companions. 

The EO also covers entry of non-residents non-resident referral, there must be a prior endorsement by the referring hospital or doctor of all patients and their companions. The endorsement should include electronic copies of the test results mandated by Section 1.

There must be coordination between the referring hospital or doctor and the receiving hospital or doctor. There must be a clear acknowledgment from the receiving hospital or doctor before the patient and his companions are allowed to travel to Davao City. 

For emergency cases, all Davao City residents must be swabbed upon arrival at the hospital. 

All cancer patients shall undergo a baseline RT-PCR test, and will be encouraged to continuously self-isolate. A medical certificate from their oncologist issued within 24 to 48 hours before travel to Davao City and a baseline negative RT-PCR test result attached to the medical certificate are required for cancer patients who are not residents of Davao City.

Patients who refuse to undergo testing should be reported to the City Health Office and should be tagged as a suspect and moved to designated Covid-19 hospitals. 

The city government will pursue sanctions against people who fail to follow the provisions of the EO. CIO