DOH working closely with BFP, other agencies to monitor hospitals after PGH fire

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2021   •   599

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it is closely coordinating with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and other concerned government agencies to prevent further fire incidents in hospitals amid the dry season and the coronavirus pandemic.

In a press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have reached out to the BFP, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and local government units (LGU) to place hospitals under close monitoring.

“Tayo po ay nakipag-coordinate sa iba’t ibang ahensya concerned katulad po ng DILG and local governments and also to coordinated with the Bureau of Fire Protection para magkaroon po ng monitoring across al[l our hospitals because we know that fire incidents are highest during the summer season,” she said.

Vergeire issued the statement after a fire hit part of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) on Sunday.

The fire has directly affected a portion of one floor of PGH.

Vergeire said at least 12 patients were referred for transfer to other DOH hospitals. As of Monday, eight patients had already been transferred while the remaining four were being processed.

The DOH has also distributed K95 and N95 masks to the PGH since all of its personnel were required to wear this for 48 hours as smoke from the fire could still linger in the area.

“We were able to provide K95 and N95 masks to the PGH para kanilang magamit sa kanilang personnel because they were required to wear N95 masks for 48 hours kahit wala po sila doon as COVID areas because of the lingering o naka-suspend pa siyempre yung mga smoke diyan galing sa pagkakasunog,” she said.

“Ngayon po ating pinagtitibay (monitoring) para ma-prevent na po natin yung mga further incidents like this in the future,” Vergeire said.

Self-test kits na aprubado ng FDA, mabibili lang sa mga otorisadong drug outlets – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Maaari nang mabili sa mga lisensiyado at aprubadong drug outlets ang dalawang brand ng COVID-19 Antigen Self-test kits, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Ito ay matapos aprubahan ng Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ang aplikasyon ng special certification ng dalawang kumpanya para sa self-test kits na tinatawag na Abbot’s Panbio at Labnovation Technologies SARS-CoV2 Antigen rapid test.

Una nang iniulat ni FDA officer in charge Oscar Gutierrez na nabigyan na ng sertipikasyon ang dalawang brand at maaari nang gamitin sa bansa.

“Ang Panbio COVID-19 antigen self-test kit ng Abbot available po siya sa 1, 4, 10, and 20 tests per box. At yung SARS-CoV-2- antigen rapid test ng Labnovation Technologies Incorporated ito po ay self-test for home use din. Available po siya ng 2,5, and 20 tests per box,” ani Gutierrez.

Pero paalala ng Department of Health na may tamang proseso at panahon ang paggamit ng self-test kits upang masegurong tama ang ilalabas nitong resulta.

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, mas mainam gamitin ang self-test kits kung may sintomas ang isang tao upang matiyak na accurate ang resulta ng kit.

“Please use it rationally, use it at the right time at tamang proseso. Ibig sabihin gagamit lang po kayo ng test kapag kayo ay nakakaramdam ng sintomas dahil ang antigen test po ay most accurate pa rin kapag kayo po ay nakakaranas ng sintomas dulot ng COVID-19,” ani Vergeire.

Ang panawagan naman ng Infectious Diseases expert na si Dr. Rontgene Solante, bigyang-prayoridad sa paggamit ng test kit ang mga may sintomas at nasa vulnerable population gaya ng mga matatanda upang agad malaman ang kanilang kondisyon at malapatan ng karampatang lunas.

“I-prioritize natin ang paggamit nitong antigen test doon sa mga may symptoms at vulnerable population. Bakit? Because these are the population that are kailangan na kung mag-positive meron tayong gamot na mga anti-viral or monoclonal antibodies para hindi po lalala ang mga infections nila to severe COVID at hindi sila maho-hospitalize,” ani Solante.

May pagkakaiba rin ang Antigen self-test kits sa rapid test kits na kalimitang ginagamit sa mga ospital at laboratory kaya payo ng DOH sa publiko na basahing mabuti ang instructional manual na nakapaloob sa bibilihing test kits.

“Ang kaibahan nito ay iyong pong specimen na kinokolekta. Ito pong mga self-administered test kits usually would have nasal specimens po ang kinukuha. Ibig sabihin kapag nasal specimen, di ganun kalalim sa inyong ilong ang pagkuha ng specimen for this test kits compared doon sa current na kailangan na guided siya ng health worker at mas malalim ang kinukuhang specimens para rito,” ang paliwanag ni Vergeire.

Paalala rin ng DOH na ang self-test kits ay available lamang sa mga otorisadong botika at hindi maaaring bilhin online.

“Bumili lamang ng self-administered test kits na aprubado nf FDA o galing po sa mga FDA-licensed drug outlets para lagi po tayong makakasiguro ana ito ay ligtas at lagi po tayong makakaseguro na makakapagbigya ng accurate na resulta,” ani Vergeire.

Paalala rin ng DOH sa publiko na i-check ang expiration date ng self-test kits at itago ang opisyal na resibo ng botikang pinagbilhan nito.

Sa ngayon ay isinasapinal na ng DOH ang guidelines, kaakibat ang evaluation ng Research Institute for Tropical Medicine at FDA hinggil sa COVID-19 self-test kits.

“Ang kagawaran namn po ng kalusugan are on our final stages dito po sa pagssusulat ng polisiya at guidelines kung paano natin gagamitin ito sa mercado,” ani Vergeire.

“Siguro po within the week makakapaglabas na tayo nitong guidelines natin,” dagdag pa niya.

NCR reaches peak of COVID-19 cases — DOH, OCTA

Maris Federez   •   January 24, 2022

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the OCTA Research Group are in agreement that the National Capital Region (NCR) has reached the peak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

The two agencies said the number of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila is now expected to go down come February.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said this development is brought about by the consecutive days wherein the 7-day average growth rate in the NCR has been seen to go down.

“Lumalabas nag-peak na at nakikita natin ilang araw nang sunod sunod na bumababa ang kaso ng NCR at lumiliit ang porsyentong iniaambag nito sa ating total case load,” Duque said.

Meanwhile, the latest projection of the OCTA Research Group showed that the growth rate of the virus in Metro Manila has decreased to -50 and the production rate has slowed down to 1.03.

OCTA said they expect the COVID-19 cases in the region to go down in the coming weeks.

OCTA fellow Prof. Guido David said that based on their monitoring, Metro Manila has reached its peak of COVID-19 cases on January 10, wherein the number of positive cases in the region breached the 18,000 mark.

“Simula January 14, masasabi natin na patuloy nang bumababa yung bilang ng kaso hanggang sa ngayon. Kahapon nga 5,000 na lang. So malaki na ang ibinaba from 18,000 down to 5,400. Ang laking improvement,” David said.

“At kaya nga yung projection natin hopefully patuloy na yan hanggang Valentines, baka less than 1,000. Baka end of February baka less than 500 na lang. At mababalik na natin yung kalagayan natin tulad nung nakita natin nung November and December sa buong bansa. Pero sa Metro Manila pa lang yan,” he added.

Based on their study, OCTA said that COVID-19 cases in the NCR will go down to as low as 1,000 by February.

This data, the group said, may be used by the government in determining whether to place the region under a more relaxed alert level restriction.

However, Duque said that this development is not yet a parameter to come up with the decision to ease the alert status in the NCR to Alert Level 2.

This, he said, still calls for the review and consideration by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

“Pero paguusapan pa rin yan mamaya sa IATF or rather on Thursday. Baka kailangan na kailangan ay tingnan na rin kung talagang malinaw na ang health care utilization ay nagkaroon na ng pagbabaklas o decoupling. Kumbaga tumaas ang kaso okay pa yung mga severe critical nasa baba so may decoupling, kung tawagin. Baka pagusapan yan pwede na at mababa to alert level 2,” Duque explained.

He added that based on the DOH monitoring, the hospital bed and ICU utilization in the NCR is now at low risk.

On the other hand, such is not the case in areas outside the NCR.

Duque said, healthcare utilization rate in several areas of the country are now at high to critical risk which the IATF is closely monitoring.

Meanwhile, OCTA Research also reported that decreasing COVID-19 cases are also recorded in the provinces of Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Aileen Cerrudo)

DOH, wala pang rekomendasyon kung ibababa sa COVID-19 Alert Level 2 ang NCR sa Pebrero

Robie de Guzman   •   January 24, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Masyado pang maaga para masabing maaaring nang ibaba sa COVID-19 Alert Level 2 ang National Capital Region (NCR) sa kabila ng pagbaba ng mga naitatalang kaso kada araw, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Sa pinakahuling ulat ng DOH noong linggo, nasa 29,828 ang mga bagong kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa. Nasa 30,552 naman noong Sabado.

Ayon kay DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, bumababa na ang kaso ng hawaan sa NCR pero kapansin-pansin naman ang pagtaas ng infection rate sa mga lalawigan.

“I think it’s too early to declare and to say to people that we will shift or de-escalate to Alert Level 2,” ani Vergeire.

“Kahit po sa tingin natin bumabagal na po ang pagdami ng kaso, bumaba na ang numero araw-araw, pero alalahanin po natin na mayroon pa rin po tayong mga kababayan na hindi na po nagpapa-test. Mayroon din tayong mga kababayan na nag-a-antigen test na hindi po naire-report sa DOH,” dagdag pa niya.

Maaari aniyang makita ang peak o pinakamataas na bilang ng COVID-19 cases sa NCR sa bandang kalagitnaan o katapusan pa ng Pebrero.

Ang NCR ay nasa ilalim ng COVID-19 Alert Level 3 hanggang sa Enero 31.

Samantala, sa ulat naman hinggil sa posibilidad ng paglutang ng mas matindi pang COVID-19 variant kasunod ng Omicron, sinabi ng DOH na mataman itong nakabantay sa mga napapaulat na variants sa ibang bansa.

Pero paalala ni Vergeire sa publiko na mainam pa ring panlaban sa anumang variant ang pagsunod sa health protocols gaya ng maayos na pagsusuot ng face mask, physical distancing at pagpapabakuna.

“Pero ang babala naman po ng mga eksperto, and even across the globe na huwag po muna tayong maging complacent because there might be other variants of concern again that might enter our country, different countries that might cause more infections and more transmissions. So tayo po ay closely monitoring,” ani Vergeire.

Payor in ng DOH sa publiko na iwasan muna ang anumang physical gathering lalo na sa Pebrero 1 o Chinese New Year dahil nananatiling mataas ang COVID-19 cases sa bansa. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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