The Quezon City government formally authorized home isolation again for certain residents as the city grapples with a COVID-19 surge fueled by the highly infectious Omicron variant.
Quezon City Joy Belmonte confirmed to Rappler that the city council amended on January 3 an ordinance from July 2021 which required coronavirus-stricken residents to isolate in medical and quarantine facilities accredited by the lcoal government unit (LGU).
“Given the characteristics of Omicron and our current vaccination rate, the Department of Health (DOH) has changed its protocols to stress home care so as to avoid congestion of hospitals and facilities,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a text message on Friday, January 14.
A city memorandum uploaded on Friday said suspect, probable, or confirmed COVID-19 cases who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms shall remain on home quarantine, as determined and assessed by the city health department through local and medical authorities.
Suspect, probable, or confirmed COVID-19 cases who exhibit at least moderate symptoms, or who belong to vulnerable groups, such as senior citizens, those with comorbidities, pregnant women, children, and unvaccinated individuals, shall be transferred to city-owned hospitals or isolation facilities.
Residents who have been allowed to be on home quarantine by local officials will receive a home care package, which includes a care kit and provision for food assistance.
“It has been reported to us that the majority of recent cases of COVID-19 are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. These cases usually recover with minimal intervention and may be managed at home under proper medical guidance and monitoring,” Belmonte said in a statement.
The duration of home quarantine must follow the protocols of the Department of Health, the memorandum added, which can be accessed below:
Belmonte noted that while home quarantine was prohibited in 2021, the city epidemiology and disease surveillance unit at the time still adopted a system that took severity of symptoms and presence of risk into consideration when deciding who to prioritize for admission into medical and isolation facilities.
“[T]here were more patients than isolation beds during the Delta surge,” Belmonte said.
Quezon City has fully vaccinated 2.08 million residents and workers against COVID-19, exceeding its 1.7-million target. The city has over 31,000 active cases. – Rappler.com