Firecracker-related injuries reach 19 —DOH

Maris Federez   •   December 26, 2019   •   587

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) reminds the public anew of preventing firecracker-related injuries as the number of victims of firecracker lighting has reached 19 since Saturday (Dec. 21).

This means that the DOH has failed to achieve its target for a zero-fireworks related injury for 2019.

The health department said the 19 victims, mostly male age 14 to 60, sustained burns and eye injuries and severe damage that needed to be amputated.

DOH spokesperson Usec. Eric Domingo has advised the public to just watch the community fireworks display instead.

The local government units (LGU), he said, usually have a fireworks display scheduled in the communities.

“Sa New Year pwede naman tayong mag- enjoy, mag- ingay […] Pwede namang mag- ingay at salubungin ang bagong taon nang hindi paputok ang gagamitin para ma- prevent natin iyong mga sakuna,” Domingo said.

The health official also mentioned alternative noise-makers to be used during the end-of-year festivities, such as drums, blowhorn, and even metal pots and pans.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) added the use of whistle as a noise-maker.

The health department hopes for a total ban of firecrackers in the country in the coming years. — (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

DOH explains COVID-19 recoveries are symptoms-based, not test-based

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 31, 2020

All the mild and asymptomatic cases that had undergone quarantine for 14 days have been considered recovered after not exhibiting any symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH said this policy is the global standard where symptoms-based is used and not test-based in declaring a recovered COVID-19 patient.

Kapag asymptomatic po siya after 14 days without symptoms, they can already be tagged as recovered pwede na po siyang mag- trabaho (If he is asymptomatic after 14 days without symptoms, he can already be tagged as recovered and resume work), according to DOH Usec. Rosario Vergeire.

Still, Vergeire said that it is important that a recovered individual should have an assessment from a physician confirming his recovery.

The number of daily recoveries went up to over 38,000 on Thursday (July 30), with a total of 65,054 recovered cases. The daily number of cases, meanwhile, went over 3,000.

The DOH said the ‘mass recoveries’ and surge of cases is due to the ‘reconciliation efforts’ of the department to consolidate its data with the data of local government units (LGUs) through Oplan Recovery.

Oplan Recovery is the DOH’s initiative to monitor the status of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. –AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Modernization plan seen to boost performance of BFP

Maris Federez   •   July 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) on Tuesday, July 28, said it is looking forward to the planned modernization of the agency as mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte in his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

In a phone interview, BFP Director Jose Embang, Jr admitted that the agency is now being left behind as compared with the other fire departments in other countries.

Embang said that what they need to be on par with other countries in meeting and maintaining international standards is additional personnel, as well as equipment, training, and salary increase.

He said what the President mentioned in his SONA will be a great help to the agency.

“Ngayon lang nagkaroon, nabanggit ng isang Pangulo na dalawang beses ang modernization ng Bureau of Fire since last year, nabanggit n’ya na ‘yan, tapos ngayong nabanggit na naman n’ya. Given by the fact siguro na s’ya ay naging mayor sa Davao ng ilang dekada at nakita n’ya ang importance ng isang fire department sa isang bayan,” Embang said.

He added that the agency has only around 29,000 personnel nationwide and what they need is double that number.

He said that to be able to recruit the additional 30,000 personnel, they have to offer a more competitive salary.

He explained that more than being firefighters, the BFP is also among the first to respond to rescue operations during disasters and emergencies.

“Ini-ensure n’ya na ang lahat ng tao na nakatira sa mga establishment ay safe from destructive fires, isa lang ‘yun, prevention,” he said.

The BFP is also a support group to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in national emergencies and in fighting terrorism.

“Sini-secure n’ya ‘yung mga taong affected ng isang emergency bago ‘yung investigation, bago dumating ‘yung iba-ibang mga unit,” Embang said.

To perform these things, Embang said, the BFP would need equipment such as additional fire trucks, ladders, platforms, ambulances, rescue trucks, and hazardous materials trucks.

“Importanteng-importante po ‘yang hazardous materials truck, kasi ‘yan po ‘yung nagre responde sa mga chemical spill, sa mga bio kagaya ng COVID, sa mga radiological incident, ‘yan po ‘yung hazardous materials na tinatawag,” the BFP official further explained.

The agency is also planning to procure choppers to be used in transporting victims from high-rise buildings or forest fires, as well as rescue boats, and drones. — (from the report of Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

COVID-19 cases in Phl hit 80,000 mark

Maris Federez   •   July 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday, July 26, reported that the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country has reached 80,448.

The health department added that “a total of 2,110 confirmed cases are reported based on the total tests done by 66 out of 90 current operational labs.”

The DOH also confirmed 382 recoveries, bringing the total number to 26,110.

The recorded COVID-19 death toll, meanwhile, has reached 1,932 with an additional 39 fatalities.

The department noted that 74 duplicates were removed from the total case count.

DOH Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire has earlier said that although the country has recorded an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, the case doubling time has slowed down.

“Ang nakikita po nating dahilan dito ay dahil sa continuously improving na case treatment and management protocols ng ating bansa sa pag-handle ng mga COVID-19 patients,” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the possibility of Metro Manila reverting to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) will likely happen if the total number of COVID-19 cases reaches 85,000 in July as projected by the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research.

He added, however, that this could be avoided if the public will not ignore the minimum health standards now that many has been allowed to go out. — /mbmf

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