HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque said Monday, January 24, he will visit the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and several provinces in the Visayas that are experiencing surges in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases.

Duque said he, along with National Task Force (NTF) deputy chief Vince Dizon and Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, will meet with the local government executives in CAR, particularly Kalinga, Ifugao and Mt. Province; Northern Samar in Eastern Visayas; Cebu in Central Visayas; and Iloilo in Western Visayas to help address the increasing Covid-19 cases in their areas.

He said among the reminders they issue to local government units (LGUs) amid the rise of cases is to further expand their healthcare facilities.

Duque said 50 percent of facilities in public hospitals should be allotted to Covid-19 patients and 30 percent in private hospitals.

“Sinasabihan din na ang mild at asymptomatic (patients) dapat hindi na sa hospital ang puntahan kaya dapat din palakasin at palawigin ang kanilang intermediate healthcare facilities on temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, katulad na lamang ng mga community isolation units at kung maaari ‘yung homecare home isolation and quarantine, palawigin din ito,” he said in a Laging Handa press briefing.

Duque said they also urged LGUs to strengthen their telemedicine and teleconsultation services to decongest hospitals and quarantine facilities particularly of mild to asymptomatic cases.

He said they should also boost triaging in healthcare facilities, patient navigation and referral systems.

“Dapat malinaw para magabayan ang mga pasyente depende sa kanilang karamdaman kung mild at kung asymptomatic, dapat samahan sila, tulungan sila kung saang pasilidad dapat pumunta,” said Duque.

On Thursday, January 20, the IATF raised the quarantine status from Alert Level 3 to 4 in Kalinga, Ifugao, Mountain Province and Northern Samar.

These areas will be under Alert Level 4 from January 21 to 31, 2022.

Various areas, including the NCR Plus, were under Alert Level 3.

The Department of Health (DOH) recorded a total of 29,828 fresh Covid-19 cases in the country on January 23, bringing the total active caseload to 273,580.

Of the active cases, nearly four percent of 10,412 were in the CAR, while 2,670 were in Iloilo.

There were 454 cases in Northern Samar and 3,342 active cases in Cebu. (SunStar Philippines)