Last Monday, after a 15-day quarantine from his travel from Cebu City, Stephen Christian Quilacio from Cagayan de Oro City “noticed I have most of the COVID-19 symptoms,” he said. He has on-off fever from the night of Monday until the next day, shortness of breath but no cough, and muscle pain. And so on Tuesday, “I decided to go to the hospital.”
During the triage/screening process, he recalled being asked questions; and eventually, “most of the symptoms for COVID-19 were found on me.”
And so, sans COVID-19 testing because of continuing issues for the same (e.g. procurement issues of the Department of Health/DOH, and – basically – not prioritizing mass testing right now even if VIP testing has been repeatedly reported), the doctor informed Stephen “that I am considered PUM: person under monitoring. I have to (isolate myself) for 21 days.”
While under quarantine, Stephen spends his days… admittedly lazily. Her reads, connects with friends on social media, sleep and eat (“My parents and my cousins just deliver food”).
If he needs to go out at all (e.g. shower), the family members go inside their separate rooms.
“We also make sure that we sanitize everything,” Stephen said.
Looking back, even if this happened only a few days ago, “when I had fever, I got scared,” Stephen said. “I panicked because I have a history of asthma and tuberculosis, and I’m also immunocompromised. I really have to be very careful (in heeding) what the doctor is telling me.”
COVID-19 still has no cure. Stephen is taking, among others, antibiotics (for seven days).
“After the medication, I will be staying in isolation until the end of the quarantine period,” he said.
Even now, “no one told me yet what I need to do after the quarantine,” Stephen said. But he hopes that the enhanced community quarantine, as a whole, will soon end; and when it does, that “everything will be okay.”
Now, “my advise to people is: If you think you have the symptoms for COVID-19, you really have to get yourself checked,” Stephen said.
The contact details of the appropriate health facilities vary per locality, obviously; but these should be “on social media or you can ask your family members,” Stephen said.
And when visiting health professionals, “you have to be very honest, especially if you have travel history. That’s very important because you don’t know if you’ve been exposed while at the airport or while traveling.”
As an additional tip, Stephen said people should “be vigilant with what’s happening in your barangay.” In his case, “our barangay is in the top three places with COVID-19 cases here. This is also why I got scared.”
And due to the much-criticized response of the DOH, Stephen said people are really not left with a lot of choice but “to cooperate; and just follow protocols.”