Bacolod City

Bacolod gov’t to move 488 COVID-19 patients from homes to isolation facilities

Marchel P. Espina
Bacolod gov’t to move 488 COVID-19 patients from homes to isolation facilities

CAPTION: COVID-19 RESPONSE: Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, IATF-Visayas chief deputy implementer Gen. Melquiades Feliciano, and Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Emil Sadain at the Government Center in Bacolod City on September 9, 2020.

Bacolod City PIO photo

Bacolod officials move to stem the rising COVID-19 cases in the city, which has been reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine

The Bacolod city government will move 488 COVID-19 patients from home quarantine to isolation facilities to help stem the spread of the coronavirus disease in the city.

The city government will undertake this upon the advice of Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr, chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, who met with officials of Bacolod City and Negros Occidental on Wednesday afternoon, September 9.

Galvez was joined by Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong, the country’s tracing czar; Health Undersecretary Bong Vega, treatment czar; Public Works Undersecretary Emil Sadain; Inter-Agency Task Force-Visayas chief deputy implementer General Melquiades Feliciano, among other officials.

During the meeting with Bacolod officials led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia, Galvez said that in order to bring down the cases, the local government should focus on prevention, contact tracing, isolation, testing, and a “no home quarantine” policy, said City Administrator Em Ang.

Ang said that Galvez told them to move all COVID-19 patients who are on home quarantine to isolation facilities, even if they are asymptomatic.

Health authorities have allowed home quarantine for asymptomatic patients who have their own rooms and bathrooms, Ang said.

But this time, even asymptomatic COVID-19 cases would be brought to isolation facilities, she said. Bacolod City has been reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from September 8 to 30 because of rising coronavirus cases.

“This is because there is still a tendency that the virus could spread to the other family members even if the patient is isolated in the room,” Ang said.

She said that there are patients who refused to be brought to the isolation facility because they have big houses and have their own room and bathroom. She added that the school, which was converted into an isolation facility, has minimal amenities.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Tuesday, September 8, that the government was eyeing a ban on the home quarantine of all coronavirus cases. On the same day, however, the Department of Health (DOH) reiterated that mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 cases who have their own room and bathroom can go on home quarantine.

‘Cause for concern’

Ang said there are 488 COVID-19 patients in the city who are under home quarantine, and that when Galvez heard this, he told the officials, “You should be concerned.”

Ang said the city government will work on moving patients on home quarantine to isolation facilities, adding that based on capacity, the city government expects to move less than 100 patients per day.

She said the city authorities will prioritize the new cases, and work their way back.

Ang added that on Tuesday, September 8, all but one of the 43 newly-confirmed patients were immediately brought to isolation facilities.

Ang also said that there was enough room in isolation facilities because of the moratorium on the arrival of locally-stranded individuals (LSIs), and returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The processing of swab test results were also faster now.

The cause for concern, however, also extends to health workers in the city. Ang expressed concern that the hospitals in the city were overwhelmed as the medical workers were also hit by the virus, and that there were others who had resigned from their work.

She said that the City Health Office (CHO) and other hospitals want to hire medical workers, but there were no applicants.

“There are available beds, the problem is the shortage of manpower,” she said.

Ang said that the Department of Health recently provided additional nurses to hospitals, even the private ones, to bolster their manpower.

Ang also said that during the meeting on Wednesday, Galvez emphasized the importance of the public’s cooperation in strictly observing health protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.

This is what they did in Cebu, which brought down the cases there, she added.

And said that Galvez assured them that the national government is willing to support the city logistically and to provide guidance in the fight against COVID-19.

During the officials’ visit, Magalong conducted a seminar on contact tracing that was attended by 170 designated contact tracers of the city.

As of September 9, Bacolod City has 109 new confirmed cases, bringing the total number of cases to 2,165.

Based on the CHO report, cases through local transmission continued to rise with 1,931, while cases from LSIs and OFWs totaled 234. – Rappler.com