Putting COVID-19 patients in home quarantine is more likely to result in wider transmission, the Nueva Ecija Inter-Agency Task Force on the Control and Management of COVID-19 said on Tuesday, August 24.
The provincial IATF warning came after the province reported on Moinday, August 23 that 76% or 1,400 out of 1,840 total active cases are in home quarantine.
“Ang nakikita ko kasi pag nagtuloy-tuloy ang mga home quarantine, lalong dadami at kakalat sa community (ang COVID-19). Hindi po ito pananakot pero nakita natin ‘yung sitwasyon sa Manila, sa NCR,” NE-IATF spokesperson Arnold Abelardo said in a virtual briefing.
(From what I see, if we continue to implement home quarantine, COVID-19 will spread in the community even more. This is not to scare people but we have already seen the situation in Manila and in the NCR.)
Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali urged local government units to put up additional quarantine facilities, underscoring the need to immediately isolate a COVID-19 patients from their households.
“Karamihan po ng nasa home quarantine ay nagkakaroon po ng transmission kaya we do encourage our LGUs to push for the patients to be transferred bago pa ito makahawa doon sa kanilang buong sambahayan,” he said.
(Majority of cases in home quarantine result in transmission, so we do encourage our LGUs to push for the patients to be transferred before they infect the entire household.)
In Quezon town, the LGU recently put up a new quarantine facility with 10 air conditioned isolation units, in addition to an existing DOH-certified quarantine facility. As of August 23, these facilities hosted 24 out of 32 active cases in the municipality, eliminating all the cases in home quarantine. The other 8 cases were admitted in hospitals.
“I really thank the municipality of Quezon for showing us how it is to handle yung ating mga COVID patients. ‘Yung iba po perhaps ay may mga dahilan pero ang importante the effort to put up quarantine facilities,” said Umali.
Cabanatuan City meanwhile has the highest number of COVID-19 infections with 289 confirmed active cases as of August 23. The city health unit said 83% or 242 of these cases were in home quarantine.
Based on data from Cabanatuan City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (CESU), the city currently has four functional quarantine facilities with a total of 90 beds, but only 43 beds were occupied on August 24.
“Patients are usually encouraged to spend isolation at the facility but opted for home quarantine because they said home quarantine better helps in their healing,” CESU head Edwin Manabat told Rappler.
Manabat said only asymptomatic and mild cases are allowed to undergo home quarantine. Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) inspect each house to validate whether patients have a room with a dedicated bathroom.
The LGU also immediately implements household lockdowns for patients in home quarantine, with medicine kits and food packs provided for the family.
Manabat said a 300-bed-capacity Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility (TTMF) will soon be functional to shelter COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, data from the DOH Nueva Ecija showed that there are currently 59 functional quarantine facilities in the province with a total of 998 bed capacity. As of August 24, only 21% or 209 of these beds have been occupied. – Rappler.com
Paul Soriano is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.