DOH ramps up fight against coronavirus

THE Department of Health (DOH) announced its efforts with other government agencies to conduct more tests and prepare more quarantine facilities, as it ramps up the country’s fight against COVID-19.

The DOH said they are expecting that the number of confirmed cases in the country will continue to rise as more people are tested.

The DOH emphasized that mass testing will be conducted to target those who are in need — all persons under investigation, and the vulnerable populations including health care workers who are exposed to confirmed cases.

The DOH is also intensifying its efforts to analyze existing medical data for a more accurate assessment of the current health situation, and working with other government agencies to construct quarantine facilities to accommodate more confirmed cases.

It also recognized the active role of private health facilities like the Fe Del Mundo Medical Center (FDMMC), a health facility located at Banawe St., Quezon City, in the fight against COVID-19. Starting Monday, April 6, the FDMMC will serve as one of the exclusive COVID-accepting hospitals (COVAH) in Metro Manila.

The DOH also announced several initiatives recently launched to provide the public with access to medical consultations without having to leave their homes.

The Lung Center of the Philippines is tapping Facebook with “Ask Force,” an online consultation where people can have a consultation with doctors whom they can ask to assess symptoms or answer their questions about COVID-19. The free service given by over 600 volunteer doctors has conducted a total of 3,000 consultations so far.

In partnership with PLDT, the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) has also launched a dedicated telemedicine hotline for its COVID-19 Bayanihan Operations Center. Operated by volunteers, the public can reach medical professionals through the number 155-200, available 24 hours a day.

The telemedicine efforts are a welcome development to reinforce DOH’s message for people to stay at home as it emphasized the role of individuals in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

In a related development, the Philippine Red Cross has also opened a 24/7 COVID-19 call center at its national headquarters along EDSA. The public can call 1158, PRC’s COVID hotline for COVID-related concerns.

“The public can dial 1158 for COVID-related concerns. Our staff and volunteers manning the call center, which include doctors, have been trained so they can respond properly to the concerns of callers. Callers will be given advise if they should go to a hospital. Kung kailangan pumunta sa ospital, kukunin sila ng ambulansya ng Red Cross,” said Sen. Richard J. Gordon, PRC chairman and CEO.