DOH reports setting up of quarantine facilities in some detention centers vs spread of COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   May 1, 2020   •   308

The NBP COVID-19 Quarantine area (Site Harry), was further configured to be ready to accommodate more patients if need be during this period of COVID-19 pandemic. | BuCor

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said that quarantine centers have been installed in some detention facilities in the country to prevent the spread and manage the cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among persons deprived of liberty (PDL).

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they are closely working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in building isolation facilities for probable and suspect coronavirus cases inside detention facilities such as the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

“ICRC has installed a 110-bed capacity quarantine facility in the medium-security New Bilibid Prison. Multi-disciplinary technical support has likewise been supplied to the Correctional Institute for Women as an emergency response to its confirmed cases detected recently,” Duque said in a statement.

The Health chief added that the ICRC is also assisting the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in setting up temporary isolation centers for COVID-19 positive PDLs who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms.

“A 48-bed quarantine facility in the Quezon City Jail in Payatas is now fully operational with 40 admitted detainees,” the DOH said.

“It is being expanded to 200 beds and will open shortly in collaboration with BJMP,” it added.

The health department also reported that a 40-bed quarantine facility at the New San Fernando District Jail and an 80-bed quarantine facility at the Quezon District Jail in Pagbilao, Lucena City are likewise being prepared.

“Such isolation centers were set-up with separate areas for patients and sleeping quarters for staff, electricity, water, cots, and basic furnishings,” it said.

“The staff were also furnished with medical equipment, personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and tablet devices to facilitate contact between patients and their relatives,” it added.

Training on infection prevention and control, and management of the dead based on DOH and WHO guidelines were also provided.

Aside from the ICRC, the Health chief said they are also coordinating with the Department of Justice, and the World Health Organization for the conduct of an initial assessment, investigation and management of cases at the Correctional Institution for Women-Bureau of Corrections and the NBP.

This is to ensure that “infection control measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in penal and correctional facilities.”

Duque said that other closed-setting facilities such as orphanages, and homes for the aged will also be monitored with the help of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“Multi-sectoral efforts are ramped up to support all vulnerable areas to stem this pandemic. In all closed-setting facilities, a single case of an asymptomatic positive COVID-19 case can be a disaster,” he said.

The measure comes after more than 200 detainees and personnel at three city jails in the country were reported to have contracted the viral respiratory disease.

Navotas to undergo 14-day lockdown due to surge in COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

Navotas City will be placed under a 14-day lockdown due to the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco confirmed what has been floating on social media regarding the lockdown, although he added that he is still yet to sign the directive.

Based on the report of City Health officials on Sunday (July 12), there are 931 confirmed cases in the city.

Tiangco lamented that despite the rising cases, residents continue to leave their houses irresponsibly. He also said that several children are playing outside without wearing face masks.

Barangay NBBS Dagat-dagatan has the highest confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city.

Barangay Chairperson Zenaida Tibulan said most of the residents thought there is less danger when community quarantine eased.

Lahat halos lumalabas na noong nagkaroon ng GCQ parang pakiramdam nila natapos na ang problema. Sobra lang mahirap talaga para masasabi nating ma-control ang mga tao at mga bata na lumabas (Almost everyone went outside when GCQ was implemented, they thought the problem is over. It is really difficult to control residents and children not to leave their houses),” she said.

Mayor Tiangco said he is still waiting for the augmentation force he requested from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to begin the implementation of the lockdown in the city. –AAC (with reports from Dante Amento).

Phl Red Cross opens convalescent plasma center in Manila to help fight COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Monday said it has opened its convalescent plasma center in the Philippine capital to help in the fight against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The PRC said its convalescent plasma bank was opened at its National Blood Center in Port Area and has started operations Monday.

In a statement, PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon said the facility aims to help COVID-19 patients after some medical experts attested to the therapy’s effectiveness.

“Pinilit naming magkaroon ng convalescent plasma center para mabigyan ng pag-asa ang mga kababayan natin na may COVID,” he said as he noted that 9 out 10 patients who underwent the therapy have recovered from the disease.

Convalescent plasma therapy involves the extraction of blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to be transfused to a patient who is still battling the disease. Blood plasma is expected to contain antibodies which will help recipients fight off the infection.

Gordon said the center is open for COVID-19 survivors who wish to donate blood plasma to the PRC.

COVID-19 survivors between the ages of 18 and 65 would have to undergo physical and medical to see if they are qualified to donate blood plasma.

To date, the Philippines has recorded a total of 57,006 COVID-19 cases. Of these patients, 20,371 have recovered while 1,599 died from the disease.

Burial for COVID-19 victims allowed but should be done within 12 hours—DOH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

Burial for victims of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is allowed but should be done within 12 hours, according to the guidelines implemented by the Department of Health (DOH).

“We are still following our Code on Sanitation dito sa ating bansa and ang Law for Notifiable Diseases. Nakalagay dito na ang isang pasyenteng mamamatay sa infectious disease, kailangan within 12 hours mailibing natin, (We are still following our Code on Sanitation and Law for Notifiable Disease in our country. It is stated that a patient who succumbed to an infectious disease should be buried within 12 hours),” according to the statement of DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The protocols for the burial of COVID-19 victims is based on the Department Circular No. 0067 released in February.

Vergeire also said the casket should be double sealed and should not be reopened once it is closed. She added that buried remains of patients infected with the novel coronavirus shall not be exhumed for whatever reason.

The DOH said they are aware of the increasing number of COVID-19 deaths and the long queues in crematoriums. There are also reports of dwindling supply of urns. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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