THE Cebu City Government has disallowed home quarantine for individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) since the start of September.
City Councilor Joel Garganera, who also serves as deputy chief implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) Emergency Operations Center in Cebu City, said they prohibited the practice because of the possibility of the Covid-19 patient infecting other members of the household.
“There are still issues with home isolation like exposure to the family, even if they have their own room and CR,” Garganera told SunStar Cebu in a mix of Cebuano and English.
Garganera’s reaction was sought after the IATF approved Resolution 74 that requires confirmed mild and asymptomatic Covid-19 patients, except for those with comorbidities, to undergo isolation in government-approved facilities.
Garganera assured that the City has enough facilities to accommodate Covid-19 patients.
Aside from the four public schools (Mambaling, Zapatera, City Central and Don Vicente Rama) that continue to be used as Barangay Isolation Centers (BICs), the City also has the New Normal Oasis for Adaptation and a Home and the Cebu City Quarantine Center.
There are also private quarantine facilities like the Bayanihan Center and the IEC Convention Center, he said.
Garganera said the City will have to sit down with the Local School Board and the Department of Education to discuss the fate of the four remaining schools used as BICs taking into consideration “that the health and safety of the teachers are primordial.”
For Garganera, the new guideline is a welcome development.
“The new resolution is really prudent because there’s more control on the part of the government in monitoring the patient,” he said.
In Mandaue City, local officials assured that their isolation facilities are ready.
In a phone interview, John Eddu Ibañez, Mayor Jonas Cortes’ executive secretary, said the City will continue to follow existing protocol as the resolution allows home isolation as long as the house meets Department of Health (DOH) requirements.
On Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, Mandaue City recorded 170 active cases. Of the number, 50 were isolated at the Mandaue City Central Isolation Unit (MCIU). The rest were either on home quarantine, in a private isolation clinic or in the hospital.
However, if the IATF strictly mandates to isolate all confirmed cases in an isolation center, Ibañez said the City’s isolation units can accommodate patients.
The City has built two isolation facilities at the Norkis Park and the former Cebu North Bus Terminal that will open pending DOH approval.
Ibañez said the Department of Public Works and Highways 7 allocated P40 million for the construction of additional rooms and isolation personnel quarters in the two facilities.
The two facilities can currently hold up to 300 patients.
Ibañez also said the City will pull out from the MCIU before Oct. 5 to disinfect the public school in time for the opening of classes. (JJL, KFD)