By Tracy Cabrera
IN finding ways to contain the further spread of novel coronavirus or nCoV, the National Task Force (NTF) on Covid-19 and local task forces said government plans to build isolation facilities dedicated for workers of industrial and techno parks in the national capital region (NCR).
This developed as top officials of NTF met with representatives of local government units discussed a more effective way of addressing the health crisis after Laguna, as well the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Metro Manila, were placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) beginning Tuesday, August 4.
During the meeting, Santa Rosa Mayor Arlene Arcillas suggested the construction of these facilities so that industrial and techno park workers who may test positive for Covid-19 no longer have to return to their homes to do self quarantine, and consequently, risk infecting their families and neighbors.
“Na-notice ko na majority of these areas (industrial and techno parks), walang isolation. So, ngayon po ang suggestion ko sana ay unahin natin ‘yong isolation of positive cases sa mga companies, kasi hindi namin ma-control ngayon ito,” Arcillas said.
National Task Force on Covid-19 (NTF Covid-19) chief implementer retired general Carlito Galvez Jr. supported the mayor’s recommendation, pointing out that it will also prevent overcrowding in isolation facilities set up by Local government units (LGUs) in Laguna.
“Mas maganda po ‘yon para hindi na rin po sila makikihati sa mga quarantine facilities ng LGUs. Dahil limited na ang resources ng LGUs, pwedeng isama na sa operational costs ng business sector ‘yon,” Galvez said.
Meanwhile, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and health secretary Francisco Duque III reported that 34 percent of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Region IV-A are from Laguna.
“Nakita natin na pangalawang punto rito ay 60 percent ng mga kaso ay mukhang nanggagaling po sa mga industrial companies, sa mga iba’t ibang industriya at kinakailangan po natin mapigilan ang pagkalat na ito sa mga naturang industriya,” Duque said.
Aside from the setting up of these isolation facilities, Galvez said the NTF Covid-19 will also focus on scaling up the testing capacity of Laguna, which currently can only conduct 400 to 600 tests daily.
“iyon ang gagawin natin sa 15 days (of MECQ) or one month. Kasama sa capacity building natin is iyong (pagpapataas) ng kanilang testing and health care capacity,” Galvez said.
For his part, interior and local government secretary Eduardo Año called on LGUs to provide their health workers with all the support they need, while intensifying efforts to strictly enforce quarantine guidelines in the community.
“Let us help our health workers. Let us provide accommodation and even shuttle services. Let us take advantage of this period para mapababa natin ang kaso. And lastly sabi ko nga, implement natin minimum health standards—face mask, social distancing,” Año said.
Galvez said the NTF is now mobilizing at least five Coordinated Operations to Defeat Pandemic (CODE) teams that will conduct regular visits to LGUs on a rotational basis.
CODE is the government’s patient and community-focused response which is anchored on the National Action Plan (NAP) on COVID-19’s prevent-detect-isolate-test-treat (PDITR) strategy.
It includes community-based activities which aim to promote preventive behaviors, carry out active case finding through house-to-house symptom checks, and conduct RT-PCR testing for symptomatic patients.
“Gagawan namin ng program ni Sec. Vince Dizon na magde-deploy kami ng five CODE teams sa limang priority cities na matataas dito sa Laguna tulad ng Santa Rosa, Biñan, Calamba, ‘tsaka yung area [na] karatig ng technopark at industrial zones,” he said.
“Pupunta po tayo sa mga barangay at municipalities para turuan po natin kung paano magkaron ng tinatawag na disease prevention at promotion of health care [in the] community,” Galvez concluded.