DOH 10 calls for BIDA Bastonero as COVID 19 local transmission surges
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Sept. 17 (PIA) – The Department of Health (DOH)-10 calls for leaders in the communities to become BIDA Bastonero amid increasing number of COVID cases in Northern Mindanao.
In a virtual media forum dubbed Talakayan sa PIA, Dr. Ian Christian Gonzales, head of the infectious disease cluster, DOH-10 said the surge of cases in the region has already begun, so it is important assign individuals in the barangays, offices, or even in the households to repove those who are not practicing the BIDA Solusyon: B-Bawal ang walang mask; I-isanitize ang kamot; D-distansya og isa ka metro og A-aksyon bahin sa ensaktong impormasyon.
The surge of local transmission has been a cause of concern for the public health sector, Dr. Gonzales admitted. He explained there are two ways to approach this problem: pre-emptive and curative. Pre-emptive is about the information campaign and risk communication while curative is the preparedness of hospitals and health facilities.
In terms of hospitals, Gonzales said, they have expanded additional beds specific for COVID 19 at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), as the COVID referral hospital. Meanwhile, aside from NMMC all level 2 and 3 hospitals public and private hospitals are able to cater to covid patients, he added.
“Based on our regulatory guidelines, private hospitals need at least 10 percent of their bed capacity intended for No Balance Billing including COVID. Aside form that, we encourage them to increase even up to 30 percent of their current bed capacity,” he said.
Not all COVID infected have to be admitted to the hospital, Gonzales said, adding only those admitted with severe or critical cases particularly needing breathing tube. However, around 90 percent of the cases in the region are either asymptomatic or mild.
If 90 percent are asymptomatic, meaning they can be managed outside the hospital. “We are happy that local government units (LGUs) are doing their best to establish isolation units or Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMF). Despite this, he said “We have to strengthen or continue the preventive measures same as BIDA solusyon. We cannot be complacent because we have the facilities, it is important to focus and not to forget the prevention side.”
It is still better to prevent, he said.
There are schools of thought about herd immunity without the vaccine. The symptoms are just mild so it is not much of a concern. But, Gonzales explained, that it only works if everyone gets a mild disease. But here in the country, we have extended family, we have grandparents living in one house, so it is high risk. “It has not worked in other countries, that will definitely not work in the Philippines.”
So far there are already four COVID 19 laboratories in Northern Mindanao: NMMC, regional office DOH, Polymedic Plaza, and Maria Reyna hospital, and with the latest additional of the local government of Lanao del Norte. But he said, these are still not enough.
The only way to keep the economy open is to keep workers healthy. To maintain that, he explained there is a need to expand testing to all sectors. Frontliners are not just in government but employees in the malls, bank, hotels, restaurants, along others. They need to be tested regularly to be sure these industries are safe. “We can’t do that right now because our capacity is not enough,” he explained.
One of the first things in any disease is to have a diagnosis. If you don’t have a diagnosis, you don’t have treatment that is why laboratory is very important, he shared.
Gonzales also urged those who have been exposed to COVID-19 positive or have had a travel history to high COVID-19 local transmission areas to speak honestly about their condition to the health workers.
“We should not be ashamed having COVID-19 because it is not our fault. We do all the preventive measures, but there is still a chance that we can get the virus. Just like with other diseases, HIV, TB with high stigma, we don’t blame the patient why he or she has the disease,” he said.
“We should not hide our true condition because we put everyone at risk. We have to be honest to improve case detection. We have to be honest to improve contact tracing,” Gonzales stressed.
The mode of transmission for COVID 19 is still through respiratory droplet. Unlike airborne, the virus from COVID-19 has a limited range of one to two meters before it falls to the ground.
Gonzales appealed to the public to become leaders and role models in following “BIDA Solusyon” because if people will not participate in preventing the spread of virus, “we cannot defeat COVID 19.” (JMORucat/PIA10)