MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health and personnel of local government units will go house-to-house in select barangays to identify individuals who are showing symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the program will be launched first in Metro Manila and in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon).
She said that this is part of the recalibration of strategies to be made during the modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, where the country’s health system can have a “breather.”
“One of the strategies that we are now employing would be the coordinated operations to defeat epidemic or the CODE strategy where we are going down to the local government units,” said Vergeire.
“We are going to adopt the Dharavi model which was adopted from Mumbai where they did house-to-house and they were able to identify all symptomatic, they were able to test them and even their contacts, and somehow they were able to contain the transmission,” she added.
Vergeire said the DOH has identified “priority barangays” in Metro Manila and Calabarzon where the house-to-house visits can be conducted in the next two weeks.
“This model will be adopted and we are going to start that in Metro Manila and Region 4A, where different officials will be going down together with the local health officials so that we will be able to identify symptomatic in the barangays, in the communities and we will be able to isolate, we will be able to test,” she also said.
Vergeire said the national government, LGUs, local health officials, members of the civil society organizations, and other stakeholders in the local health system will be engaged in the initiative.
She added that the DOH will also conduct contact tracing of at least 37 close contacts of those who will test positive among persons found to be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 in identified communities. This benchmark in contact tracing was earlier suggested by the country’s contact tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong Jr.
“This type of strategy will be employed so that we will be able to identify all of those who are supposed to be isolated,” said Vergeire.
The total COVID-19 caseload so far in the country rose to 112,593, with additional 6,352 cases reported on Tuesday. A total of 66,049 have recovered, while the nationwide death toll is now at 2,115.