Public told to continue following health protocols amid subvariant, long COVID concerns

May 23, 2022 - 5:09 PM
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New Year's Eve bus station
People wearing face masks as protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) wait to ride a bus going to provinces, a day before the New Year's Eve, at a bus terminal in Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines, Dec. 30, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

“Continue practicing minimum public health standards.”

This is the advice of the Department of Health following growing concerns about COVID-19 variants and post-COVID-19 symptoms among Filipinos.

DOH issued this advisory on its social media pages on May 22.

“The Department of Health would like to reassure the general public that the best way to protect families and loved ones against any new COVID-19 variant or even post COVID-19 condition, more commonly known as ‘long COVID’ is to continue practicing minimum public health standards (wear the best fitting mask, isolate when sick, ensure good airflow), and also to get vaccinated as soon as possible AND boosted once eligible,” the health department said.

“This advisory is provided to reiterate current knowledge about post COVID-19 condition,” it added.

DOH then explained that a “long COVID” normally happens three months after being infected with COVID-19.

Symptoms may include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Joint pain

DOH also stated that these symptoms may last for at least two months, citing that they “cannot be explained by other conditions.”

They can be felt either after recovery or patients may continue to feel them from the initial COVID-19 episode.

“To date, there is no test to diagnose long COVID. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider for first aid,” DOH said.

The agency also advised patients to go to the nearest emergency rooms if they experience the following:

  • Difficulty breathing (catching breaths, can only say one word)
  • Severe chest pain
  • Lightheadedness or fainting

While there are no diagnostic tests yet, DOH said that the most effective preventive measure against long COVID is to not get ill with the COVID-19 in the first place.

They reiterated that the public should observe the minimum public health standards, vaccination and getting booster shots.

The Philippines has so far detected 14 cases of the BA.2.12.1 Omicron subvariant in Metro Manila and Palawan.

These cases comprise two from Metro Manila and the other 12 were detected in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.

Amid this development, the government has retained COVID-19 Alert Level 1 throughout the Metro Manila and several other provinces from May 16 to 31.

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