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How Much Will You Spend If You Test Positive For COVID And Quarantine At Home?

How Much Will You Spend If You Test Positive For COVID And Quarantine At Home?
Image by @xb100 / Freepik

The Philippines has passed the 800,000 mark of confirmed Coronavirus cases as of April 5, 2021, with 13,435 deaths and a daily rise of at least 8,000 positives. Hospitals can no longer accommodate incoming COVID-19 patients due to lack of facilities, supplies, and equipment. Moreover, many Filipinos cannot afford hospitalization, as bills among COVID patients can range from Php 43,000 to over Php 1 million, depending on the severity and length of confinement.

Thus, for many who are exhibiting symptoms, the only viable option is to be treated or managed at home during the 14-day quarantine period. How much exactly will you spend if you have to quarantine at home? interviewed two families, one living in Metro Manila, and the other outside NCR.

Angeline, 56, tested positive for COVID in February 2021. Fortunately, her symptoms were considered “mild” and did not require hospitalization. “Sa totoo lang, hindi rin namin kakayanin ang bills kapag na-ospital. My family and I decided to isolate at home,” she says.

Angeline opted for home-service RT-PCR tests for her family. “We cannot go out of the house or go to hospitals to get tested, mas malaki ang risk na mahawa kami if we did.”

Since Angeline and her family live in Cavite, the tests came out more expensive because of transportation fees. “We availed home-service tests for Php 4,700 each, including their transportation fees,” she says. The total bill came to Php 23,500 for her family of 5 on RT-PCR tests alone.

“Thankfully, my husband and three kids all tested negative, but since we have a COVID-19 positive at home, all of us are still required to isolate.”

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With the whole family under quarantine, even simple tasks like going to the grocery and fetching meds at the drugstore became difficult, so they had to rely on delivery services.

“We got our groceries delivered at home. We spent around Php 7,000 good for two weeks, including food and necessary household items.” Food is necessary whether or not the family has COVID, but for Angeline, getting their 2-week supply in one go from the grocery and having them delivered to their home naturally cost more than if they just buy from the market every few days or every week.

Aside from food and tests, they also needed a doctor’s advice about the health approach they have to follow for the rest of the isolation period.

“My teleconsultations for the whole two weeks [amounted to] Php 15,000,” Angeline shares, saying it included daily check-ups and prescriptions, minus the cost of the medicines. “For my meds and vitamins, we spent around Php 6,000.”

After the 14-day period, Angeline got another RT-PCR test to ensure that she doesn’t have COVID-19 anymore.

Estimated expenses for a family of 5 outside Metro Manila:

COVID-19 tests – approximately Php 30,000

Groceries and household items – Php 7,000

Health teleconsultations and advice – Php 15,000

Pharmaceutical products – Php 6,000

A family of 5 living outside the National Capital Region (NCR) with a COVID-19-positive patient will spend approximately Php 58,000 during the 14-day recommended isolation period.

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Bea took care of her 62-year-old father who tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2021. “My dad is already a senior citizen and he should have been admitted to the hospital, but we went to around four hospitals and they couldn’t take us in dahil puno na daw,” the 24-year-old shares. “We didn’t have a choice, we opted for home care instead.”

Bea’s family availed home-service RT-PCR tests worth Php 4,200, a bit cheaper than home-service tests in the provinces since most clinics are based in Metro Manila.

“Our whole family decided to get tested just to be sure, and only my dad’s result turned out positive,” she says. For the whole family’s RT-PCR tests, Bea spent Php 21,000.

Just like Angeline’s, Bea’s family could not step out of the house to run errands, so they needed to get their groceries, medicines, and household items delivered.

“We spent around Php 5,500 on groceries and household materials for two weeks.” Living in the Metro means that several malls and groceries are scattered around the area, cutting delivery and transportation fees to a minimum. “We also got our medicines delivered, I think we spent around Php 4,000 including vitamins and supplements.”

Health consultation fees vary depending on the clinic or hospital, and the expertise of the physician. Bea’s father went under the care of their family doctor via teleconsultations, which cost them Php 10,000 for two weeks.  “Our doctor checked up on my dad twice or thrice a week, giving prescriptions and medical advice.”

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In the case of Bea’s father, a nebulizer was required because he had trouble breathing. Fortunately, they already had a nebulizer at home, but for patients who will need to purchase one, it will cost an additional Php 2,000 to Php 4,000.

“We were in isolation for about 15 days. When my dad was feeling a bit better, we decided to get him tested again.” Bea says that they spent another Php 4,200 for an RT-PCR test at the end of the 14-day period, just to make sure that her father is COVID-free.

Estimated expenses for a family of 5 in Metro Manila:

COVID-19 tests – Php 25,200

Groceries and household items – Php 5,500

Health teleconsultations and advice – Php 10,000

Pharmaceutical products – Php 4,000

A family of 5 living in Metro Manila with a COVID-19-positive patient will spend approximately Php 44,700 during the 14-day recommended isolation period.

As of this writing, both Angeline and Bea’s father have recovered from COVID-19.

It is important to remember that expenses will vary depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms, the services available in your area, and number of people in a specific household. While home care is relatively cheaper than hospitalization, it still comes with a hefty price tag that is not affordable for everyone. Let’s do our part in preventing the further spread of COVID by wearing our masks and staying home.

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