DOH-Davao: Many “close contacts” breach home isolation protocols

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 5 November) – Several persons who had close contact with COVID-positive patients have been breaking the 14-day self-isolation protocols by leaving the confines of their homes, DOH-Davao assistant regional director Lenny Joy Rivera said.

During a virtual presser on Wednesday, Rivera said these individuals were supposed to remain in home isolation while awaiting results of their reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

She reminded them to take the minimum health standards seriously to curtail the transmission of the highly infectious disease.

She urged them to not move around even if they do not manifest any signs and symptoms, as some of them could turn out positive for the virus and potentially infect others.

“We should implement the minimum health standards like distancing and self-isolation, especially those who are undergoing testing. What is happening now is that even after they undergo the testing, they are still moving around. This is the reason why, when their results come out, they have several ‘close contacts’ already,” she said.

As of November 4, DOH-Davao reported 5,953 cases with 1,625 active ones, 4,116 recoveries and 212 deaths. Of the total, 4,072 were reported in Davao City, 315 in Davao de Oro, 655 in Davao del Norte, 443 in Davao del Sur, 104 in Davao Occidental and 364 in Davao Oriental.

Rivera said 70 to 80 percent of the total confirmed positives in the region are asymptomatic or did not manifest symptoms of the disease.

“It’s very important that each of us will cooperate. If you feel something, you need to isolate. If you are a close contact, you need to be put under observation and once symptoms develop, you need to seek consultation,” she said.

She urged the individuals to promptly seek medical help once they manifest symptoms of the infection and not wait until their condition worsens before going to the hospitals.

“This is also another reason why we have more admissions in critical stage leading to death because the patients come to hospitals when they are in critical condition. Actually, 50 percent of them come to hospitals when they are critical that leads to mortality,” she said.

Last August 11, the City Council of Davao passed an ordinance imposing a fine of P5,000 on all persons, including locally stranded individuals and returning overseas Filipinos, who violate the mandatory 14-day home quarantine.

Authored by Davao City 3rd District Councilor Mary Joselle D. Villafuerte, the legislation seeks “to penalize all persons violating the mandatory 14-day home quarantine for COVID-19 imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) or any public health authority authorized to impose the same.”

It applies to all asymptomatic returning OFWs, whether sea-based or land-based, subject to arrangements, and rules and regulations imposed by the governing authority; asymptomatic ROFs and holder of permanent resident visas; asymptomatic LSIs; asymptomatic healthcare workers with unprotected exposure, defined as working in a healthcare facility with confirmed COVID-19 within the last 14 days without appropriate PPE;

Asymptomatic non-healthcare workers who test IgM positive in rapid tests, are required to undergo isolation at home or at a community quarantine facility for 14 days; and other such cases which require mandatory 14-day home quarantine.

The legislation also states that the DOH Center for Health Development Davao, City Health Office, Davao City Police Office, punong barangay and respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Team will handle its monitoring. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)