Coping with COVID 19 in Muntinlupa City

CREDIT it to intensified targeted mass testing, including contract tracing, isolation strategies, as well as treatment of confirmed and suspect individuals. That’s how Muntinlupa City Health Officer, Dr. Ma. Teresa “Tet” Tuliao explained it.

As of May 16, Muntinlupa City recorded a recovery rate of 56.85 percent, the highest in the National Capital Region. Dra. Tuliao reported to Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi that in view of the ongoing  “express mass testing” (administered free to residents), the city health office has tested more than 2000 residents and front-liners. Residents to be tested are transported by the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERT) and  the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO).  Confirmed patients are immediately referred to quarantine facilities  while close contacts and their families are isolated. Dra. Tuliao also acknowledged the valuable support of Filinvest Corporate City Foundation which donated 2,010 rapid test kits to the city government to augment  its targeted mass testing efforts.

Another good news: the COVID transmission in Muntinlupa City  has  slowed down  to 8 days,  based on “doubling time” data of confirmed cases over the past few days. “Doubling time” refers to the number of days for the  local corona virus to double in number. The standard rate of transmission should be between  7 and 30 days, the more days the better, to be considered decelerating. Latest figures provided by the City Health Office showed that the city had  207 confirmed cases with 144 recoveries, 32 active cases, 31 reported deaths, 36 suspect cases  and  192 probable cases.

“The improved figures, however, are no cause for the public to relax their vigilance,” Mayor Fresnedi said. He urged residents to continue to observe physical distancing, strict social hygiene, and   other measures such as curfew, and quarantine pass system.

Meanwhile, Muntinlupa City proverbially killed two birds with one stone when it recently hired 164 displaced seamstresses to produce an estimated 2,400 complete Personal Protective Equipment for front-liners at the Ospital ng Muntinlupa (OsMun).  The PPEs included gowns, head covers, goggles and shoe covers. Under the program dubbed as Tulong Pangkabuhayan para sa Displaced Workers (TUPAD), seamstresses were paid P537 per day.  The project was jointly undertaken by Lingkod Muntinlupa Foundation (which provided the fabric and sewing materials);  the Muntinlupa Gender and Development Office (GAD),  headed by Trina Biazon; the Public Employment Service Office (PESO), headed by Glenda Aniñon; the Muntinlupa City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO), headed by Erwin Alfonso, and the Muntinlupa City Technical Institute-Tesda (MCTI-TESDA), headed by Engr. Francis A. Santella.

GAD, the City Nutrition Committee and the office of Congressman Ruffy Biazon also facilitated the  distribution of  NutriPan - fortified with Iron, Vitamin A and Malunggay - to undernourished kids in the city  to provide additional nutrition and to boost their immune systems. The program was supported by  San Miguel Corporation.

As of Thursday last week, the city government has allowed 4,174 tricycles to operate in order to transport front-liners, workers of industries allowed to operate during MECQ, and heads of households buying essential goods. Muntinlupa Traffic Management Bureau Chief Danidon Nolasco said  the  accredited tricycles were allowed to operate from 5 a.m. to 12 nn, provided they observed proper social distancing and sanitation safeguards.

The Gotianun-family led Filinvest Development Corporation and its various foundations and subsidiaries have pledged to donate P100-million worth of Covid-19 test kits and PPEs for front-liners and hospital workers. Josephine T. Gotianun-Yap, President and CEO of Filinvest Development Corporation, said the donation will go principally to The Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM). Another important contribution made by Filinvest was to sponsor and fast-track the creation of a COVID dashboard that one can now find  in the DOH website. Another dashboard is being used by  the IATF.  It is a joint project with the DOH, the DOST and the data science company operating the machine. Ms. Gotianun-Yap explained: “The decision makers need this data – cases, testing, hospital resources - in real time  to plan out their strategy against COVID.”

Recently, Filinvest Development Corporation  allowed the use of its events place in Alabang – Filinvest Tent – as a health care center to serve COVID-19 patients. The fully air-conditioned  and sufficiently-equipped quarantine facility  can accommodate 108 persons.  Filinvest sponsored the construction materials, EEI provided the manpower while the Villar Group provided the hospital beds. The facility is being managed by the Office of Civil Defense and the Bureau of Fire Protection. Facilities like this have greatly helped ease the pressure from the hospital system.

Earlier, the Filinvest-managed Palms Country Club in Alabang – with the full support of its shareholders -  provided bed and shower facilities  to  medical front-liners  working at the nearby Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

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