Mild COVID-19 cases who are confined in hospitals would not be forced to transfer to government-run isolation facilities, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Friday.
"Hindi natin pipilitin na lumabas ng ospital ang isang pasyente kung nandun na sila. Patapusin na natin 'yan kung hanggang 14 days pa sila diyan o hanggang maging asymptomatic sila kung mild sila," Vergeire said in a virtual forum.
"Ang ginagawa natin ngayon proactive tayo, I mean hindi tayo magre-retroactive, meaning kung sino lang ang mga darating ngayon, 'yun na 'yun ipapatupad ang protocol at kailangan sumunod ng mga ospital," she added.
Vergeire said most of those mild cases who are confined at hospitals have co-morbidities, which makes them very vulnerable to the virus.
"Usually ang mga mild na nandito sa mga ospital , mayroon silang ibang sakit kaya binabantayan talaga sila ng kanilang private practitioners," she said.
The DOH official underscored that government hospitals are well-aware of the protocol that asymptomatic and mild cases should not be admitted, and that severe and critical cases must be prioritized.
She added that private hospitals have also committed to strictly follow this instruction in a bid to avoid congestion of COVID-19 patients.
There are 14 mega facilities and isolation centers in local government units across the country for the isolation of asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 cases but the occupancy rate has not reached the maximum capacity yet, according to Vergeire.
"Ngayon ang ating mega facilities na mayroon tayo, almost 50% pa lang ang occupancy kaya nga hinihikayat natin ang local government units natin na magkaroon ng network with this temporary monitoring facilities para everytime na they will identify mild and asymptomatic tapos hindi talaga posible ang home quarantine, they can refer directly to these facilities," she said.
According to data from the DOH, over 33,000 or 93% of COVID-19 active cases are outside hospitals.
Asked if the protocol to allow home quarantine in previous months have contributed to the continuous surge in cases, Vergeire said the increase cannot be attributed to only a single factor.
"There are a lot of factors now kung bakit tumataas ang kaso, hindi lang siya because of one single reason, marami pang ibang factors na puwede," she said.
She reiterated that the home quarantine protocols of requiring own room, own bathroom, and absence of vulnerable housemates, and strengthened partnership with local government units for the monitoring of these patients were in place as early as April.
Though the call for asymptomatic and mild cases to transfer to isolation facilities has been intensified lately, Vergeire said home quarantine is still allowed as long as the mentioned conditions are properly met.
As of July 16, there are over 61,000 COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, more than 38,000 of which are tagged as active. —KBK, GMA News