THE Department of Health recently reported a high contact tracing rate and increased testing capacity as the nation moves towards economic recovery and the DOH’s strategy shifts from risk avoidance to risk mitigation.
Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III explained that the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate is central to the National Action Plan towards the “new normal.”
Under the Prevent component, the DOH is implementing quarantine restrictions and measures and minimum public health standards even in evacuation centers.
In its Detect component, Duque reported that more than 1.5 million contacts were profiled with a ratio of 1 case to 6 close contacts accounting for 99.43% of the total contacts traced.
Also, 323 barangays in the National Capital Region were active implementers of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic response wherein 10,323 COVID-19 cases were investigated, 16,571 households were visited by contact tracing teams, 65,439 contacts were traced and 41,245 contacts were tested using RT-PCR. With 167 registered COVID-19 testing laboratories in the country, about 5.3 million samples were tested with a 9.3% positivity rate.
In the Isolate component of the strategy, the health chief revealed that 375 calls were received and coordinated by the One Hospital Command Center to government hospitals, private hospitals and other concerned agencies. As a result, Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities were able to transfer several COVID-19 confirmed cases: 62 to hospitals, 62 to mega quarantine facilities and 200 to hotel isolation facilities.
On the other hand, under the Treat and Reintegrate component of the strategy, 38% of hospital beds are used by COVID-19 patients, 22% utilization rate of mechanical ventilators for COVID cases and more than P5.3 million worth of personal protective equipment were distributed.
“With increased mobilization and coverage of health services, there is now an increase in the number of dedicated healthcare workers willing to provide corresponding services,” Duque said.
As of Nov. 16, about 15,814 positions are open for health service providers. There are now about 10,195 hired health personnel nationwide under the DOH Emergency Hiring Program with 10,654 nurses and 36 doctors deployed in different communities. As of Nov. 17, 536,180 returning overseas Filipinos were reunited with their families.
“We are confident that the PDITR strategy will further reduce COVID-19 cases and deaths. While we’ve seen an increase in our healthcare capacity, we continue to remind the public to help stop the spread of COVID-19 virus and BIDASolusyon. Walang-sawa po naming uulit-ulitin na palagiang magsuot ng face mask, palagiaang mag hugas or mag-sanitize ng kamay, i-observe physical distancing of at least one meter, at alamin ang tamang impormasyon ukol sa sakit. Non-pharmaceutical interventions are still the best when dealing with COVID-19,” the health chief said.