PH opens COVID-19 command center to monitor hospital capacity, help in inter-facility transfer

Robie de Guzman   •   August 6, 2020   •   198

MANILA, Philippines – The national government on Thursday opened its One Hospital Command Center to monitor the capacity of the country’s medical facilities in treating patients with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 led the launching of the command center which is established in Guadalupe, Makati City.

The task force said the command center will help facilitate coordination, referral, and inter-hospital transfer of COVID-19 patients in Metro Manila.

It will also monitor the capacity and occupancy in public and private hospitals in the country, as well as the number of patients being placed in the isolation facilities.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, who also serves as the government’s treatment Czar, said the center will also be used to identify ready hospitals that can accommodate intensive care or rooms for moderate cases.

It can also be used to identify which hospitals are in need of increased bed capacity amid the public health crisis.

“What we are trying to put here is very coordinated care in terms of transfer and referral and medical directions. I think all of the hospital directors would agree that it is much better to transfer moderate and severe cases rather than have them queue in the emergency room where mortality is very high. We are also here for the strengthening the capacity,” Vega said.

The NTF advised hospitals in the country to submit data to help authorities in taking appropriate measures.

“We would like to make it enforce the compliance of all hospitals in terms of making sure that they would to submit the data collect and bed tracker to our national database so that we will have a good pictures and details where the problem is,” Vega said.

The command center will operate 24/7 with lines dedicated to answer queries or provide information on inter-facility referral and transfer of COVID-19 patients.

The COVID-19 Command Center can be reached via landline number (02) 886-505-00, and mobile numbers 0919-977-3333 and 0915-777-7777.

It may also be contacted by downloading the mobile application PureForce Citizens. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Roque denies hand in Leachon ‘removal’ as Nat’l Task Force adviser

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday denied that he had a hand in the ‘removal’ of Dr. Tony Leachon as special adviser to the National Task Force against COVID-19.

Roque issued the statement after Leachon claimed that he and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III were behind his leaving following his recent tweets criticizing the Department of Health’s (DOH) response to the crisis and its reporting of COVID-19 cases.

Leachon also earlier said that the DOH has lost its focus, and criticized its lack of sense of urgency and transparency in the communication process.

During a televised briefing, Roque said he has no authority to compel anyone to resign and that it was no less than President  Rodrigo Duterte himself had noticed Leachon’s criticism against the DOH which is the lead agency in the government’s response on the COVID-19 situation.

“Let me correct you Dr. Leachon. Hindi po ako, hindi po Secretary Duque. Mismong si President Duterte po noted that you should not be doing what you were doing kasi alam ninyo po pagdating sa datos ng department of health, wala pong tinatago,” he said.

Roque also did not deny the Palace’s negative reaction to Leachon’s criticisms but maintained that the government has been transparent on issues relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

“You do not have the monopoly of the truth and we have never lied, saan po kami nagsinungaling? Dapat ilathala niya yan. We are perfecting the recording of cases, we have not perfected it yet but we are striving po to improve,” he said.

In a statement, Leachon said he still respects the president but it would be a disservice to him if he is not alerted to the current state of the country amid the public health crisis.

“It’s my moral responsibility to inform the public and great disservice to the president if we will not alert him the current state of health of the country on covid pandemic. I respect PRRD It’s all up to him. I’ll remain loyal to the flag,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

LIST: Sectors, activities allowed, banned in areas under ECQ and GCQ starting May 1

Marje Pelayo   •   April 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The national government will relax some measures starting May 1 to 15 in areas under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ).

Under Resolution 29 of the National Task Force COVID-19, several sectors and activities will be allowed for the duration of the ECQ and GCQ provided, that as a precondition, minimum health standards are continuously observed.

As classified, areas under ECQ are those with high risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection while those under GCQ are those with moderate or low risk of infection. 

Sectors ALLOWED under ECQ and GCQ:

Sectors NOT ALLOWED during the ECQ but ALLOWED during the GCQ:

Services and activities banned during the ECQ and the GCQ:

Operations of government offices in areas under GCQ will be allowed to resume, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Ang lahat ng opisina ng gobyerno puwede nang magbukas under GCQ, [All government offices under GCQ may open],” he confirmed.

The President stressed, however, that each sector must ensure the protection of workers and enforcement of sanitary protocols in workplaces to curb the spread of diseases.

Also, the Task Force announced that starting May 4, higher education institutions will be allowed to operate through a skeleton workforce in areas under GCQ ‘only for the purposes of finishing the Academic Year 2019-2020 to issue credentials to students and to prepare for flexible learning arrangements for the next Academic Year.’

After May 15, the GCQ will be lifted in areas with low risk of COVID-19 infection provided that no further deterioration is reported. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

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