Pateros’ lone isolation facility runs out of beds
MANILA, Philippines — Pateros residents who need to be quarantined after contracting the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be transferred to isolation centers outside the municipality after its lone facility exceeded its bed capacity.
In a video address, Mayor Ike Ponce said the isolation facility at the Pateros Elementary School gym, which has only 70 beds, was already full due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the municipality.
As of Aug. 10, Pateros had reported 454 confirmed cases, up 68 percent from the 270 recorded on Aug. 3 or a day before Metro Manila reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine. Of the 454 cases, 55.7 percent or 253 were active.
Ponce attributed the increase to the municipality’s increased testing capability as it recently opened its own mega swabbing facility.
Officials of the COVID-19 National Task Force who recently visited Pateros offered “Oplan Kalinga” to residents who needed to be quarantined but could no longer be accommodated by the local government.
Under the program, those who could not comply with home quarantine protocols would be fetched from their houses and brought to government isolation facilities.
The national government earlier advised against home quarantine for patients, including those with mild or no symptoms, who did not have their own rooms and bathrooms.
Home quarantine was also not advised for those living with high-risk individuals like children, the elderly, pregnant women or individuals with preexisting health conditions.
According to Ponce, all residents in need of quarantine—including those who had tested positive and their close contacts whose results were pending—would be picked up.
Exemptions, however, would be made for “special cases,” including the bedridden, those with children who did not have other guardians, and patients about to complete their quarantine in three days or less.
“Residents cannot refuse. Everyone needs to go [to the isolation center] when authorities fetch you [from] your homes,” Ponce said.
“Do not be afraid of [staying in] isolation facilities outside Pateros. They are more decent and more comfortable than what we have here,” he added.
According to Ponce, he would also deploy personnel to act as messengers for patients in quarantine centers outside Pateros.
The national government has repurposed some facilities into mega quarantine centers to accommodate mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients.
There are currently four of these in Metro Manila: the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Rizal Memorial Stadium, both at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila; Philippine International Convention Center forum halls and the World Trade Center, both in Pasay City.
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