THE two American women who are patients under investigation (PUIs) have tested negative for novel coronavirus (nCoV), according to Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez, spokesperson of Bohol’s inter-agency, multi-sectoral Technical Working Group (TWG) on Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases.

Lopez announced the “good news” in a press briefing at Capitol on Saturday following the result of the laboratory test on the first swab samples taken from the two PUIs, who are aged 23 and 24, respectively.

The TWG is awaiting the “confirmatory” result of the examination of the second samples also conducted by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila.

The province, under Gov. Arthur Yap and Vice Gov. Rene Relampagos, created the TWG which provided the template for preventive, precautionary and case management measures and protocols since day one of the anti-nCoV vigilance.Lopez will give update in another press briefing this afternoon, Monday.

The PUI’s attending physician, who is handling cases of communicable diseases in Bohol, is considering the patients, who have been in a government hospital’s isolation ward, for discharge, Lopez said.

On Friday, another PUI, a 31-year-old Chinese woman tourist, was discharged from a hospital for also testing negative for nCoV.

SEVEN PUIs

Pending result of their second sample test, the two Americans—also tourists who traveled to Beijing, China from the USA and then to Coron and El Nido in Palawan before proceeding to Bohol—remain counted among the Bohol PUIs, who now reach to seven.

As of this writing, the seven include the three nurses who attended to the nCoV-positive 60-year-old woman from Wuhan City, China while the latter was confined in isolation at a private hospital in Tagbilaran City.

The woman first tested negative for nCoV, had gone stable and recovered, discharged from the hospital on January 31, and had gone back to China.But she later tested positive for nCoV based on the February 3 RITM re-run or re-test of one of her two swab samples.

She was already back in China when the DOH announced the positive result on February 4.

In yesterday’s press briefing, Lopez said he learned two days earlier from the Regional Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (RESU) that the woman is in good condition in China.

But because of their history of contact with the said patient and having become symptomatic, the three nurses have been treated as PUIs based on the DOH protocol and placed in private hospital isolation for proper case management, Lopez said.

During the press briefing, Lopez said the RITM laboratory test result of the samples from the first two nurses declared as PUIs could be release anytime starting last Saturday.

The two others of the seven PUIs are a crewmember and a passenger of the OceanJet fastcraft which departed from Cebu City to Tagbilaran City at 5:40 in the afternoon on January 20.It was the same vessel boarded by the n-CoV infected Chinese woman from Cebu to Bohol en route to his return flight to China after she was released from the hospital here.

The ship crew and passenger had themselves assessed in a government hospital for cough in response to the contact-tracing call of the government health authorities.

The two American PUIs are confined in isolation also at a government hospital.

PUI NOT YETnCoV CASE

But Lopez again clarified that a PUI is not yet a novel coronavirus case, much less a confirmed case.A person is treated as a PUI if he/she has previous direct contact with a confirmed nCoV case, has come from China, or has passed through China before arriving to the Philippines.

Lopez said their contact-tracing of the workers of a Panglao hotel where the Chinese woman checked in and of the driver of the van that transported her to the hospital yielded symptom-negative.

Also on advice of Gov. Yap, the TWG coordinated with the Bohol Association of Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants (BAHRR) in applying an nCoV monitoring tool on the guests.

Containing the names of the hotel/resort guests with “remarks,” the tool will be submitted to the TWG which lead agency is the DOH. (Ven rebo Arigo)