CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama on Thursday, January 20, urged COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms to isolate at home, saying the local health office would help them with medicine kits.
Rama, in an interview with state media Radio Pilipinas, said the city government has encouraged public and private hospitals not to admit mild cases.
“Ang pinaka-importante, ito, ‘yung hospital accommodations and monitoring…. We are already in this directive, telling the public and the private hospitals, kung puwede, ‘wag nang i-accommodate ‘yung mga mild,” he said.
(The most important [aspect] is hospital accommodations and monitoring. We are already in this directive, telling the public and the private hospitals that, if possible, do not accommodate mild [cases].)
The mayor said home distribution of medicine kits is aimed at preventing crowds in distribution queues.
Although studies show that the Omicron variant causes milder symptoms, affecting mostly the upper respiratory tract, its higher transmissibility poses a risk to healthcare systems.
In the same interview, Rama said he is working with the Cebu provincial government and the independent cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu to “make available” an integrated temporary treatment and monitoring facility in the island.
Updated isolation and quarantine period
Amid the current uptick in COVID-19 cases, the city rolled out an updated isolation period for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and the duration of quarantine for their close contacts.
Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, the head of the city’s Emergency Operations Center, posted the updated policy on isolation and quarantine on his Facebook page.
The isolation period for critical and severe cases, regardless of vaccination status, will last for 21 days from the onset of symptoms, with no need for a second test.
Isolation for immunocompromised individuals who are fully vaccinated will last for 21 days upon the onset of symptoms. Immunocompromised patients who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated will have to present a negative RT-PCR test on top of the 21 days of isolation.
For moderate cases, fully vaccinated patients need to be isolated for 10 days from the onset of symptoms. The same period, starting from testing positive, applies for partially vaccinated or unvaccinated patients.
Isolation for mild and asymptomatic cases is seven days from the onset of symptoms for fully vaccinated patients and 10 days after a positive test result for the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
Isolation refers to individuals who test positive for COVID-19. Quarantine refers to close contacts or for suspected cases awaiting their swab results.
The updated quarantine period for asymptomatic close contacts was set to five days from the date of exposure for the fully vaccinated and 14 days for the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
The same quarantine period applies for close contacts who test negative for COVID-19, starting upon receipt of their results.
Garganera shared a Department of Health-Central Visayas report showing that Cebu City’s hospital occupancy rate is now at moderate risk.
The average utilization rate across all hospitals in the city stood at 61.13% on Tuesday, January 18. The utilization rate for public hospitals was 80.87%, while it was 41.67% for private hospitals. – Rappler.com