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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Preparation, prompt action keys to Biñan City’s commendable COVID-19 response

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When the pandemic first struck in the Philippines two years ago, the whole country was shocked at how it immediately affected our lives in different aspects―lifestyle, business, work, and most especially, our health.

Several quarantine and isolation facilities were established throughout the city to mitigate the spread of the virus.

In March 2020, when the number of cases spiked, community quarantines and health protocols were implemented in Metro Manila and other neighboring provinces. Despite these efforts, the Philippines was the first country outside China to record its first death.

Alarmed by the global health risk, local government units rolled out their respective programs in handling the vicious pandemic. Among them was the city of Biñan in Laguna.

Before its local first COVID-19 case, Biñan immediately imposed safety protocols for managing and preventing the spread of the disease. Through its City Health Office, its Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERT) were oriented on the quarantine and isolation process. It also conducted several simulation drills that help its residents be knowledgeable and trained on proper handling when they encounter the virus.

Moreover, when the virus reached the city and suspected or confirmed cases were reported, Biñan’s city government immediately carried out case investigations, active surveillance, and contact tracing within the boundaries of affected areas.

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Some quarantine and isolation facilities were established to control the spread of the virus in the community. Some of which are:

• PUP Biñan Campus was converted into a 30-bed capacity quarantine facility for close contact individuals;

• A temporary isolation facility for confirmed COVID-19 patients was also built in Ospital ng Biñan; and

• The Biñan City People’s Center was prepared and ready to be converted into a quarantine facility to accept patients in case of another virus surge.

Meanwhile, to ensure the safety of their medical frontliners, they were given essentials such as personal protective equipment (PPE), alcohol, washable face masks, face shields, gloves, and vitamins both in private and government hospitals.

VAX-on-wheels provides Biñanense easy access to COVID-19 vaccines

The LGU also converted one of their local hotels, Q18, into temporary shelters for health workers who opted not to go home after work to protect their loved ones from the danger brought by COVID-19. They were also provided with free haircuts and massages for relaxation after a long, tiring day in the hospital.

Given the worsening situation in the country as infections hit a record high for a third straight day during the first weeks of the year after the holiday season, the local city also strengthen its implementation of protocols by tracking immediately those who have been exposed to COVID-19 and provide them the proper guidance to prevent the ongoing transmission. Residents are reminded to be vigilant with their BIDA Solution Plus which means:

B ― Bawal walang mask.
I ― I-sanitize and mga kamay.
D ― Dumistansya isang metro.
A ― Alamin and tamang impormasyon.

Suportahan ang FDA-approved na bakuna dahil “Sa Lungsod ng Biñan, BIDA ang may bakuna.”

Designated contact tracers also extend help in giving patients their needs for hospitalization or in transferring to quarantine facilities.
The vaccination drive is still ongoing for those who are still unvaccinated and undecided individuals. Vaccination sites such as Southwoods Malls (cinema and drive-thru), Historic Alberto Mansion, Alonte Sports Arena, and different private hospitals are accepting Biñan residents for vaccinations.

But as for those residents who want to get vaccinated but don’t have the access to designated vaccination sites, the LGU launched VAX-On-Wheels, a mobile vaccination center. With this initiative, residents will no longer have to travel and expose themselves to the risk of the virus.
Residents living near the Laguna de Bay and in flooded barangay can also have their vaccination with Biñan City’s vaccination boat called Floating Vaccination Center.

Floating Vaccination Center allows Biñanenses residing near the Laguna de Bay and in flooded barangays to receive doses.

The city health office of Biñan remains vigilant in providing booster jabs for its residents to further combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents who are also experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 can also ask for medical consultation via telephone and messaging app through the E-Konsulta which will also help to lessen the exposure of symptomatic individuals to other residents. Prescribed medicines are also provided.

Biñanenses who are close-contact positive can also book an appointment online to ask for free antigen home testing to assure their condition. Dedicated parking sites are also open as another option for Biñan residents for swab testing.

The local government, led by the big three, also offers financial support to Biñanenses who are struggling with the virus.

Office of Mayor Arman Dimaguila prepares PPEs and COVID-19 kits for medical frontliners protection against the virus.

Other than their residents, the Biñan City government unit is also committed to giving their health workers much-needed breaks and treats to lessen the stress in these trying times.

In an interview, Biñan City health officer Dr. Mirabelle Benjamin shared that fighting the pandemic is taking its toll on its health workers psychologically. That’s why giving their frontliners good meals and good talks helps boost the morale of their team.

“Alam mo ang ginagawa ko sa kanila, dadalhin ko sila sa kainan. Tapos habang kumakain hindi nila napapansin na nabubuo ‘yung bond namin as a team sa simpleng kwentuhan at usap-usap,” said Benjamin. “Nakakagaan naman sa loob kapag nakakarinig ka ng thank you mula sa mga nagpabakuna.”

The efforts of the city’s frontliners and health workers don’t go unnoticed as Biñan City Mayor Arman Dimaguila is grateful for working with these passionate individuals who serve as the backbone of their entire COVID-19 response since the first day.

When questioned about the current situation of the pandemic in Biñan, Benjamin said that it’s better than what they hoped for, especially with the help of other cities and municipalities through sharing of plans and projects.

“Maganda naman and progress, kaibigan natin ang bawat cities. Nagtutulungan din kung sino ang may kailangan ng tulong. Walang comparison sa ibang lugar kasi pare-parehas lang din naman kami ng pinagdadaanan.”

Biñan City health officer, Dr. Mirabelle M. Benjamin

Benjamin also asked for continuous support from the city’s frontliners to keep on fighting not only for themselves but for every citizen of Biñan.

“Alam naman natin na andito pa din ang pandemic, hinihingi ko pa din ang kanilang tuloy-tuloy na suporta para sa ating mga mamamayan.”

Even though the country remains in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Biñan sets a shining example of how the health issue should be addressed and how no one should be left behind.

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