CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno ordered city hall’s frontline health workers to bring all COVID-19 cases to local quarantine facilities as infections continued to increase in the city and elsewhere in Northern Mindanao.
The order, made on Wednesday, January 19, was a repeat of city hall’s hard-line policy on the extraction of the infected at the height of the COVID-19 surge that brought the city’s health system to the brink of collapse in 2021.
Moreno’s order applies to the asymptomatic and those found to have mild, moderate, and severe symptoms, especially the immunocompromised.
Based on the order, the asymptomatic and those with mild symptoms are to be quarantined for seven days, and 10 days for the unvaccinated and those who have yet to receive their second doses.
Those with moderate symptoms are to be quarantined for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status.
The quarantine period for those with severe symptoms and comorbidities, inoculated or not, is 21 days.
City hall spokesperson Maricel Rivera said the local government had to revert to the hard-line policy in an effort to break the chain of COVID-19 transmissions in the city.
Cagayan de Oro registered 221 new cases, accounting for 28.2% of the newly detected infections documented throughout Northern Mindanao, on Thursday, January 20.
The region logged its highest number of single-day infections on the same day at 783, from 393 on Sunday, January 16.
Moreno said his order to bring the infected to the city’s quarantine and treatment units was based on data that showed that isolation in the facilities was more effective in reducing COVID-19 transmissions than allowing the infected to quarantine at home.
“The advantage of being isolated in city hall-managed facilities is that the patient can be monitored and treated immediately. But more importantly, the goal of isolation is to prevent those with COVID-19 from infecting their families. If left unchecked, the chain of transmission continues,” read part of Moreno’s statement.
Dr. Teodoro Yu Jr., City Health Offfice medical officer and data analyst, said the majority of those who tested positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus at home.
“If people resort to home quarantine, there’s no assurance that the chain of transmission would be broken. In fact, the chain of transmission continues and soon, cases will increase to a point that it can overwhelm the city’s health care system. By isolating at city isolation facilities, the infected protect their loved ones,” Moreno said. ‐–Rappler.com