Patients afflicted with COVID-19 and the health care workers attending to them in quarantine facilities have been transferred to hotels and other isolation facilities, as Typhoon “Rolly” batters the country, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Sunday.
In a briefing at the headquarters of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Sunday, Duque said patients and staff in Albay province, Metro Manila and Bulacan have all been moved to hotels, motels and other isolation facilities to keep them safe from the storm.
Some P26.5 million worth of medicine, medical supplies, health kits, personal protective equipmentand other supplies related to COVID-19 are already position in different centers for health development, he said.
At the same time, the DOH also has prepared P21.7 million worth of additional supplies and commodities, Duque said, which are currently at the department's central office warehouse.
Duque said the DOH central office was under a Code Blue Alert, which meant that half of its employees should report to the central office or other health facilities.
The DOH has also alerted hospitals to ensure that they have functional generator sets and their critical life-saving equipment are also prepared in case of power interruptions, Duque said.
Duque said DOH Region V was on Code Red Alert, which means that all its employees will be required to report to work.
Considering that the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, Duque urged those in evacuation centers to keep observing minimum health standards as much as possible.
He reminded local chief executives to deploy safety officers to evacuation centers to ensure that these health standards against COVID-19 are being practiced.
Duque reminded evacuees to practice physical distancing, wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and use cloth masks.
The Health secretary advised evacuees to consult a doctor in case they experience severe symptoms of the respiratory illness, such as difficulty in breathing.
Duque also warned the public against wading in floodwaters that may put them at risk of contracting leptospirosis.
NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad said about 1,000 COVID-19 patients are from mega-treatment facilities located at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila, Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, and Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan have been moved to hotels or other isolation facilities because the tents they are staying in are not designed to resist strong winds.