ILOILO City – The lockdown of St. Paul’s Hospital of Iloilo (SPHI) beginning Sunday night may be lifted today, according to the regional interagency task force on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). * direct care for a patient with probable or confirmed COVID-19 disease without using proper personal protective equipment. * face-to-face contact with a confirmed case for at least 15 minutes “Our protocols for infection control have always been in place and strictly followed. These are in accordance with accepted standards to address the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of everyone working, confined in, or visiting the hospital,” it stressed. Earlier, DOH-6 director Dr. Marlyn Convocar issued this public advisory: “The public is hereby advised to immediately contact DOH Western Visayas, the City Health Office and/or their respective local government units through Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) if they have visited the above-mentioned health facility from June 23-28.” Yesterday, DOH-6 announced that one nurse of the hospital tested positive for COVID-19 – a 28-year-old male from the City Proper (Patient No. 309). He was one of the 17 new cases in the region confirmed yesterday. She, however, said it would be up to SPHI to determine when it would be ready to resume normal operation. “Wala sang exempted (from testing) didto sa sulod,” he stressed. In a statement, the SPHI management assured the public it had “protocols and processes to address the results of the said tests.” Today, some 700 hospital personnel, hospital patients and other persons who may have come in contact with the eight hospital doctors positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, would have been all swabbed for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing, said Atty. Roy Villa, task force spokesperson. Dr. Ella Mae Divinagracia, infectious disease specialist of SPHI, the nurse was assigned at the third floor of the hospital. The swabbing was a joint effort by medical technologists of SPHI, City Health Office (CHO) and Department of Health (DOH) Region 6. Those identified as close contacts of the doctors were require to undergo strict home quarantine and isolation for 14 days. “Any flu-like symptoms such as fever, difficulty of breathing, and/or cough should be immediately consulted with physicians or reported to the nearest health facility. Confirmatory testing for close contacts shall follow DOH Department Memorandums 2020-0258,” according to Convocar. Close contacts are individuals who had lived with, cared for, traveled with, or transacted with a confirmed case who has: The SPHI lockdown was a precautionary measure, said Villa, against the spread of COVID-19, and may also help determine the source of the eight doctors’ infection. The disinfection of SPHI is also expected to end today, according to Dr. Renilyn Reyes, head of DOH-6’s Public Health Program Development. Some test results are also expected to be released today. * was with a confirmed case in an enclosed space for at least two hours The infected eight doctors and nurse are currently being quarantined at the hospital’s hostel. St. Paul’s Hospital of Iloilo is a tertiary level training general hospital with a capacity of 265 beds./PN * direct physical contact with a confirmed cases The virus-infected SPHI physicians were resident doctors and a Family Medicine consultant.