Bataan prepares for COVID-19 worst-case scenarios

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BALANGA CITY — The provincial government of Bataan is now forming response plans to prepare the province in case of worst-case scenarios due to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.

Provincial Health Office (PHO) Head Rosanna Buccahan said one of the worst-case scenarios is the possible lockdown of the province. 

“The purpose we are all here today is to know how to act or respond in case local transmission is proven and we are in a lockdown,” Buccahan said to stakeholders during the Emergency Meeting on COVID-19 held Wednesday in Balanga City.

One of the initiatives of the provincial government is to establish the Bataan Outbreak Response Team once the province has recorded a confirmed case of the disease.

“The creation of the response team will be based on the Bataan Metropolitan Development Authority, with three rotating incident commanders on a 24-hour duty every third day,” she said.

The composition of team will have clusters focusing on surveillance, medical management, communications, logistics, and governance.

Buccahan said the response team shall intensify surveillance and real time monitoring by updating the inventory of all public and private hospitals, implementing fever monitoring in all facilities, and mapping out high risk areas.

“All hospitals will also be instructed to put in place strict infection control measures and to have separate entrances for all patients with respiratory symptoms or fever,” Buccahan added.

She also revealed that personal protection equipment is now ready for distribution intended for health workers.

The kits include disposable gown, safety goggles, alcohol, soaps, N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, boots, tissues, and digital thermometer.

Moreover, when the need arises, the Incident Command System will be activated wherein Buccahan shall be the incident commander while Governor Albert Raymond Garcia will be the responsible official.

“The incident objectives are to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the province, to provide information and health education, and to immediately report, refer and manage persons under investigation or severe acute respiratory infection suspect case,” Buccahan furthered.

All local government units (LGUs), national government agencies, public and private hospitals and other stakeholders were urged to synchronize all efforts to protect the community.

“What we need to do is gather all our resources and do our mandate so we can respond to alert systems and to prepare on what is coming,” Department of Health Central Luzon Center for Health Development Communicable Diseases Cluster Head Eloisa Vidar said.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared a State of Public Health emergency, ordering all government agencies and LGUs to combat the spread of COVID-19 in their respective community.