Home quarantine for COVID-19 patients not discouraged, DOH clarifies

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 13 2020 03:24 PM

Lights are seen from apartments as residents stay in their homes at a condominuim during the corornavirus lockdown in Quezon City, Philippines on Sunday, March 29, 2020. Basilio H. Sepe, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health on Monday clarified that COVID-19 patients can undergo home quarantine as long as they have a space where they can isolate from their family.

“Hindi naman ho sa dini-discourage natin ang home quarantine. Meron nga tayong joint administrative order kung saan home quarantining is allowed,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters.

“Pero ang sinasabi ko nga, may mga kondisyon tayo para mag-home quarantine.”

(We are not discouraging home quarantine. We even have a joint administrative order stating that home quarantine is allowed. But as we said, there are conditions required for home quarantine.)

“So kailangan lang talaga meron silang sariling banyo, sariling kwarto,” she explained.

(What they need is to have their own bathroom, their own room.)

Without these, patients need to stay at a temporary treatment and monitoring facility.

Vergeire issued the clarification following Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles’ remarks discouraging home quarantine in favor of facility-based quarantine, especially as some hospitals have already filled up their COVID-19 bed occupancy.

She said Nograles might just be speaking about the need for stronger quarantine measures that the DOH has been pushing for. 

Last week, Vergeire also said that the DOH had advised hospitals to refer their mild cases to temporary treatment facilities instead, to decongest their COVID wards, as almost a dozen hospitals have reported 100% occupancy for their COVID-19 intensive care unit beds.

Vergeire said that as of July 11, there were 12,684 suspect and probable cases for COVID-19 in home quarantine in different parts of the country.

She said the country has more than enough temporary treatment facilities in case the number of patients increase due to the easing of quarantine measures in the country. 

The 8,287 LIGTAS COVID centers of local government units have 70,029 beds that are just 25% occupied, she said. Meanwhile, the 14 Mega LIGTAS COVID-19 facilities of the national government only has 38% occupancy of its 3,193 beds.

“So, itong mga nasa bahay, pinagpapatuloy na lang. Pinag-iigting ang pagmo-monitor sa kanila,” said Vergeire when asked if those on home quarantine will be asked to transfer to facilities.

“Although, in some of the LGUs, it was reported to us na nag-transfer na rin sila ng ibang pasyente dito at dinala sa temporary treatment facilities.”

(So, those in their houses will continue their quarantine there. We are just monitoring them intensely. Although, in some of the LGUs, it was reported to us that they started transferring patients to temporary treatment facilities.)

The DOH said last week that local transmission and the lax implementation of minimum health standards in communities are causing most of the new COVID-19 cases in the country.

As of Sunday, there were 56,259 total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.