The local government of Quezon City said hospitals were just following directives of the Department of Health (DOH) when they sent home three Quezon City residents with symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), even as the city's mayor expressed concern over such rules.
In a statement, Quezon City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit Head Rolando Cruz said that under a memorandum of the DOH, individuals with mild symptoms and the non-elderly are to be sent home.
He was citing DOH Memorandum 2020-0108, which indicates that "persons under investigation (PUIs) and positive COVID-19 patients who exhibit mild symptoms with no co-morbidities and non-elderly are advised to be sent home for strict self-isolation and close monitoring by local health authorities."
The statement comes as Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte expressed concern that three residents of the city had symptoms for COVID-19, but were sent back home.
"Ang nangyayari kasi ngayon, kung hindi nasasabi sa local government unit (LGU) na may taga-lungsod namin na nagpatest, hindi namin nalalaman tapos pinapauwi na lang ng hospital o kung anumang pasilidad kung saan sila nagpatest," she said in Saleema Refran's Sunday report on "24 Oras Weekend".
"Tapos nalalaman na lang namin na positive siya pag binigay na samin ng DOH ang listahan so pag punta namin doon sa mga tahanna, nandun pa yung tao, so nagugulat na lang kami," she added.
A total of 49 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have already been reported in Quezon City, including three fatalities.
The latest death was a 69-year-old male lawyer from Barangay Horseshoe, who died on March 16. His results were only released on Saturday, March 21.
Moving forward, Cruz said the local government has started implementing the extreme enhanced community quarantine on residences of positive patients who have been sent home.
Under this, they are strictly monitored by uniformed personnel and provided with the necessary assistance in order to ensure their isolation.
The local government has also identified facilities where positive patients who do not have the capacity to undergo self-quarantine may be accommodated.
"We reiterate the local government's advice to residents to help slow the spread of the said virus by following all directives by the national government," said Cruz. — Jon Viktor Cabuenas/DVM, GMA News