Mayor Sara blames DOH-11 for ‘misinformation’ on use of home quarantine

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 November) – City Mayor Sara Duterte on Friday blasted officials of the Department of Health (DOH) in Davao Region for not correcting the mistaken notion that confirmed cases of coronavirus disease and their close contacts were being placed on home quarantine, during a meeting of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team here last Wednesday.

During her live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), Duterte said she was expecting DOH-Davao officials to butt in and correct such misinformation.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte visits the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) XI Isolation Facility along C.P. Garcia Highway, Friday afternoon. 07 August 2020. Photo courtesy of the City Government of Davao FB page

National Task Force COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, who led the CODE Team meeting at the Camp Quintin Merecido of the Police Regional Office 11, blamed the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases on the alleged failure of the local government to immediately put confirmed cases, including their close contacts, in isolation facilities.

Health Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama and DOH-Davao director Annabelle Yumang attended the meeting.

Yumang, who has yet to respond to Duterte’s statement, briefed the national government officials on the COVID-19 situation in the region.

Duterte clarified that the city government did not put confirmed cases under home quarantine.

“May I just clarify that home quarantine was never the direction and policy of the city government of Davao with regard to COVID-19 positive cases. I might not have spoken during the meeting because I was expecting the DOH to say something but they never did,” she added.

She said all positive cases were brought to temporary treatment and monitoring facilities for isolation.

Duterte joined the virtual meeting over Zoom, along with provincial governors, police, military and health officials of the region.

“I was expecting DOH 11 will correct the notion that we’re doing home quarantine, and then when I saw that the direction of the conversation already changed, I did not speak up anymore because I would sound like a hanging banshee there if I would still argue,” she said.

She said the local government is following the DOH guidelines with respect to persons who had direct contact with confirmed positive patients or the F1.

“In regard to F1, these are close contacts that cannot be determined yet if they are positive or not because they have to wait for Day 5 to 7. It’s indicated in the DOH guidelines ‘quarantine.’ It does not indicate if it’s home quarantine or facility quarantine. What is indicated is only ‘quarantine,’” she said.

She said the city government would fetch the positive cases from their homes to the isolation facilities and place their houses on lockdown.

“So, what we do is to get the positive and then we put them at the facility and then we lockdown the houses of the positive case, and that is quarantine also. That is home quarantine… We put them there and then we give them a schedule before we test them based on DOH policy,” she said.

As of Nov. 19, Davao City reported a total of 5,520 cases, Davao de Oro 400, Davao del Norte 882, Davao del Sur 621, Davao Occidental 113 and Davao Oriental 404.

The entire region has 2,378 active cases, 5,266 recoveries and 296 deaths.

Out of the 5,20 cases in Davao City, 1,874 are active, 3,401 have recovered, and 245 died. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)