Metro Manila LGUs prepare for more cases of coronavirus

Loreben Tuquero
Metro Manila LGUs prepare for more cases of coronavirus
Apart from disseminating information on the virus, local government units also enhance healthcare facilities ahead of any new cases of coronavirus in the capital

MANILA, Philippines – After two cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) were confirmed in the National Capital Region, local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila are now enhancing their healthcare facilities and training healthcare workers in the event of any new cases.

On Monday, February 3, the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRMC) conducted a meeting to discuss the LGUs’ response to the virus. (READ: Novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV: What we know so far)

Earlier, the Department of the Interior and Local Government urged LGUs to form their respective coronavirus task force to address the outbreak. 

Local chief executives are expected to conduct information campaigns, assist in tracing those who may have encountered confirmed 2019-nCoV patients, handle referral and transport of suspected 2019-nCoV cases, and train health workers on the prevention, containment, and control of the virus.

As of Monday, the virus has killed at least 360 people, including one in the Philippines. As of 12 pm on Monday, there are a total of 27 patients under investigation in the National Capital Region..

President Rodrigo Duterte expanded the Philippine government’s ban on travelers, covering any person coming directly from China, Hong Kong, and Macau within the last two weeks. 

Here is how LGUs in Metro Manila are preparing for possible new cases of the highly infective virus.

Quezon City

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is set to inspect 3 government-run hospitals – Quezon City Medical Center, Rosario Maclang Bautista General Hospital, and Novaliches District Hospital – for their readiness in the event of more 2019-nCoV cases.

The 3 hospitals have been equipped with the necessary safety equipment, such as an isolation tent, to take in people suspected of carrying the virus. The tent would allow patients to be isolated from other hospital patients.

These hospitals are also part of the task force for monitoring and responding to the virus.

Private hospitals have also been briefed with regard to the protocols in handling suspected nCoV patients.

Further, 80 frontline responders and logistics personnel of the Quezon City DRRMO were trained on the proper use of personal protective equipment, proper handling of patients, and proper disposal and disinfection of equipment.

Quezon City Health Department Head Dr. Esperanza Arias has also oriented doctors on the virus and activated fever lanes in multiple health facilities to expedite the response to 2019-nCoV concerns.

Quezon City residents may contact the city’s 122 hotline for information on nCoV.

Parañaque City

According to Parañaque City Health Office head Olga Virtusio, all medical officers have already been informed about the virus, and hospitals have already prepared for isolation of persons under investigation. 

Virtusio said that while they have a makeshift tent, they are lobbying for another isolation tent of better quality.

She added that triaging is already in place as well. Triage involves the assessment and immediate isolation of carriers of 2019-nCoV away from other patients, according to the World Health Organization. 

Moreover, information on the virus is being printed for dissemination, said Virtusio. 

Pasig City

In a Facebook post, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said that a quarantine tent has been set up at the Pasig City General Hospital for those with symptoms of the flu.

In addition, Sotto said healthcare professionals in the emergency room are implementing the triage algorithm of patients with suspected nCoV infection.

Further, infrared thermometers have been turned over to the Department of Education-Pasig, to be distributed to 44 public schools. The thermometers will be used at the entrances of schools starting Monday to check if students have a fever. 

 

 

The mayor also said infrared thermometers were deployed at Pasig City public school entrances and at highly populated areas, such as City Hall. – Rappler.com

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Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.