If you live in a coronavirus high-risk area in Metro Manila or Calabarzon, expect a visit from the Department of Health (DOH) in the next two weeks as the agency kicks off with the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) protocol to check for COVID-19 cases.
"Hindi naman sinasabi na lahat ng areas magagawa natin sa ngayon. We have identified barangays na high-risk at maraming clusters at ito pupuntahan ng ating team for the next two weeks," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual press briefing on Friday, August 7.
(We're not saying that we can do it to all areas now. We have identified barangays that are high-risk, and have many clusters of infections, where our team can visit for the next two weeks.)
Vergeire said they prioritized Metro Manila and Calabarzon due to high recorded numbers of COVID-19 cases and clustering of infections.
"Ngayon inuumpisahan natin ito sa national Capital Region at Region IV-A para lang maumpisahan natin 'yung mga areas na matataas ang number of cases," Vergeire said. (We're starting it with the National Capital Region and Region IV-A so we can start with areas with high recorded number of cases.)
The DOH said on August 3, that it was monitoring 887 clusters of cases nationwide, 741 of these within communities. Of these clusters, 315 are in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the outbreak.
"Eventually, after two weeks, iniisip natin na maipapatupad ito sa lahat ng areas na high risk areas all over the country (we're thinking to implement this to all high-risk areas all over the country)," Vergeire said.
The CODE protocol aims to isolate residents with COVID-19 symptoms as well as their close contacts, and to swab test them.
The initial areas in Metro Manila are:
According to Vergeire, the CODE team is composed of health officials from national and local level, local government partners, and barangay health emergency response teams.
The DOH has yet to release the areas in Calabarzon included in the strategy.
The new COVID-19 strategy would make people feel the presence of the DOH at the local level, Vergeire earlier said. (READ: In new COVID-19 strategy, people will feel DOH presence at local level – Vergeire)
It was formed following the "distress call" of the medical community for the government to revert Mega Manila to modified enhanced community quarantine for two weeks, and during that time, revisit its pandemic response. (READ: Duterte gov’t, medical societies meet to recalibrate PH pandemic response)
As of Friday, the Philippines recorded 122,754 cases of COVID-19, including 2,168 deaths and 66,852 recoveries. – Rappler.com