Usec. Vega: DOH Cites Davao City’s Isolation Of COVID-19 Patients


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The Department of Health (DOH) has acknowledged Davao City government’s move to assign only one hospital to cater to patients suspected of and infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as one of its best practice.

DOH Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, in a press briefing on July 9, said one of the main drivers of the city’s progress in the fight against the virus is it has assigned the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) as the only institution to receive cases related to Covid-19.

“This way, private hospitals will accommodate non-Covid patients and SPMC will handle everything that’s COVID-19 related,” Vega said.

Dr. Vega, who is former SPMC chief, told reporters that having to keep all equipment and medication necessary for the containment and cure of the viral disease in one facility is a “good strategy”.

In March, City Mayor Sara Duterte signed an ordinance stating private hospitals in Davao City shall not accept patients with COVID-19 to keep their patients and health workers safe from possible infection due to exposure from the virus.

DOH Davao Regional Director, Dr. Annabelle Yumang, said devoting the government hospitals would lessen the risk of COVID-19 transmission to other patients.

“Dedicating one hospital for persons under investigation (PUIs) is one way to lessen transmission,” she added.

Private hospitals refer patients suspected with Covid-19 to SPMC.

As of July 10, DOH records 484 cases in the city. Of this number, 154 are active cases; 302 have recovered; while two deaths have been reported.

Other efforts

In earlier reports, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque commended the strict implementation of the local government during the quarantine period.

“Strikto po talaga ang implementasyon nila ng mga quarantine guidelines, bagamat modified general community quarantine [MGCQ] na ang Davao City, sarado pa rin ang mga tourist spots, at hindi pa nagbubukas ang Samal Island (They are strictly implementing their quarantine guidelines even though they are on MGCQ already. Tourist spots like the Samal Island are still not yet open to the public),” Roque said.

In her July 10 live interview on Davao City Disaster Radio, Duterte-Carpio responded to Roque’s remark saying the LGU cannot claim that their actions are the “best-practice” as there is no measure to gauge the comparison.

“We do not know because there is no precedent, where we can say that this is best practice or not because this is our first time to encounter or experience COVID-19. The LGU would respond depending on the situation in its area of responsibility, and maybe what they said is that Davao is a model city for COVID-19 response,” she said.

Food programs

In a statement from the City Information Office, apart from its medical strategies, the city also rolled out four food programs: (1) the food ration run by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO); (2) the Agri-food Program jointly implemented by the City Agriculturist Office (CAO) and City Veterinarian’s Office (CVO); (3) the Hot Meals (Lomi and Lugaw) on Wheels program, and (4) the barangay rice distribution program ration.

The beneficiaries hold a Ration Card to receive the relief.

Those without the Ration Card will be given the Agri-Food Card for the agri-food assistance. This way, the government resources are maximized and no Dabawenyos will be left out in food assistance during the ECQ.

The Barangay and Cultural Communities Affairs Division (BCCAD) is running the hot meals program for 98 villages in the City.

BCCAD through the barangay leaders serves the hot meals daily at 10 a.m and 5 p.m. Duterte-Carpio said each of the 182 barangay receives 100 sacks of rice.

The mayor said that apart from the rice ration, residents will also benefit from rice assistance rolled out by some barangays from their respective resources. (PNA)

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