Central Luzon shares strategy to prevent further spread of COVID-19

CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Pampanga — Central Luzon shared Wednesday its strategy to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in the region.

Regional Task Force on COVID-19 Chairperson (RTF 3) and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Director Maria Theresa Escolano disclosed that they continue to aggressively conduct Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities led by the Philippine Information Agency, the lead of the Crisis Communications Cluster.  

“Complementing these communications efforts are several issuances of the RTF 3 and Local Task Forces (LTFs) such as those pertaining to strict implementation of minimum public health standards, zoning containment strategy, activation of emergency operations center and One Stop Shops for the Returning Overseas Filipinos both OFWs and non-OFWs and Locally Stranded Individuals, among others,” Escolano disclosed during the visit of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team of the National Task Force led by Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

There are also various issuances in the region to prevent and fight against discrimination and violence perpetrated on individuals and their families affected by COVID-19, including health care workers and frontliners.

The BIDA Solusyon Campaign of the government has been rolled out to encourage the people to take an active role in the fight against COVID 19.    All LTFs, Regional Line Agencies and stakeholders were directed to reproduce, disseminate and post BIDA IEC materials in offices, on strategic locations and through the social media.   

Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Labor and Employment continuously monitor the compliance of companies and various business establishments to ensure that health and safety of employees and clients in the private sector adhere to the existing minimum public health standards.

The Joint Task Force COVID Shield, ably manned by personnel from Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine Coast Guard and other special units, continues to monitor quarantine control points established in strategic areas and major interchanges in the region, including the shorelines. The vigorous efforts resulted to apprehensions, arrests and imposition of fine to more than 8,500 individuals who violated quarantine guidelines and protocols.

“A total of 100 out of 137 or 73 percent of local government units (LGUs) in the region have functional emergency operations center (EOC) managed by the LTFs while 7 are being maintained by regional line agencies such as the OCD, Department of Health (DOH), PNP and BFP, among others. The RTF 3 has already issued a memorandum to all LTFs who have no functional or activated EOCs again in compliance to the directive of the meeting chair last 42ndInter Task Group meeting for the RTFs to ensure that the EOCs of LGUs are functioning and operational,” Escolano furthered.

Following various DOH directives and guidelines on the management and referral of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases, Central Luzon LGUs have established their  referral system/call center hotlines for hospital and healthcare facilities within their area of responsibility, operating 24/7 to facilitate navigation, care coordination and patient transport mechanisms especially for severe/critical COVID-19 cases.

The referral system likewise includes referrals to a Temporary Treatment or Monitoring Facility and/or to a higher level facility.  The Provincial Government of Tarlac has established a One Hospital Command which enables it to efficiently manage all their COVID 19 cases.

“Another recent issuance of the RTF 3 is the creation of a Regional CODE Team, in compliance to the directive of the National Task Force to organize Regional CODE teams and monitor the LGUs implementation of the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate strategy,” Escolano added.

Prior to the establishment of the Regional CODE Team, the RTF 3 engaged the LGUs with recent surge of cases such as municipality of Masinloc in Zambales and the municipality of Mariveles in Bataan.