ALABEL, Sarangani (March 13, 2020) – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Arvin Alejandro has laid down Sarangani’s action plan and guidelines for COVID-19 mitigation.
“There is no border already when we talk of local transmission,” said Alejandro on March 11 during the COVID-19 workshop, pertaining to the cooperation between the task forces of Sarangani and General Santos City.
Alejandro disclosed the threat of possible local transmission in Sarangani, as there are already two persons under investigation (PUIs), and four persons under monitoring (PUMs) left from the initial 17 PUMs in the province.
“PUMs are individuals with travel history from countries with local transmission of the disease,” according to Alejandro, while PUIs are individuals who have shown the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 like fever, cough, and colds.
Alejandro said he has already cooperated with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in GenSan for the airport protocols to “improve identification of PUMs, PUIs, and persons of interest.”
“In the airline, while onboard ang plane, flight attendants will provide a travel checklist na ifi-fill up ng mga passengers. Then, all persons with travel history and exposure from areas with local transmission ay ibibigay na agad sa health personnel sa station sa airport, and then they will call us” Alejandro stated.
“The objective there is to know who shall be monitored and investigated already,” he added.
With regards to checkpoints, Alejandro said that GenSan City task force has also agreed to “strengthen” the already existing checkpoints like in barangays Malungon Gamay and Tinagacan.
While in the community level, Alejandro explained the process flow starting from the “barangay health workers or BHWs natin as the source of information for persons of interest (POIs) in their community,” then they will “report or inform the municipal health offices (MHOs) regarding the POIs.”
“Our MHOs should prepare a surveillance team or what we will call the barangay Rapid Action Team (RAT) to go to the area,” which according to Alejandro will comprise of the midwives and sanitary inspectors.
The MHO will then identify the POIs if they will be considered either PUM or PUI, and report to the Provincial Health Office (PHO) “for the admission process of the identified PUI.”
“MHO will inform PHO to arrange the hospital facility for admission,” he said, “and then fetches the PUI from the area.”
Alejandro told the MHOs on March 11, “that hospitals should have in place an infection control guideline and implement all necessary admission precaution,” such as the nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab test, and “ensure availability of isolation areas.”
Also, a selective contact tracing will also be done, such as “listing down all the members of the household of the identified PUIs.”
On the other hand, Alejandro also mentioned that “all employees na may travel history and exposure ay imo-monitor din natin agad,” through the assistance of the administrative officers and the human resources management office.
According to Alejandro, the province has already allotted an initial “P1M budget for the logistics and other supplies” like the personal protective equipment (PPE), but saw the threat of “depletion of non-pharmacologic supplies” like masks, which he said “is also happening in other LGUs.”
“This current issue should be addressed by a system turn later into administrative orders signed and approved by the governor,” he stated, referring to the enactment of policies that should be done “to strengthen itong ating mga initiatives and action plans.”
Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon also agreed to “form a memorandum order” regarding the guidelines established in the task force, which will then be “given to all mayors in the municipalities para may basehan sila to really push this.”
“We are just so grateful that the governor is really passionate to really address this issue,” said Alejandro. (Jori Mae Samillano/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)