As surge exhausts city facilities, city looking into home isolation as last recourse

17 September 2021 – The city government is looking at home isolation as its last recourse should it totally run out of facilities for Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients due to the continuing surge.

City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Peña said households must prepare for this possibility in view of the overwhelming increase in cases believed to be fueled by the Delta variant.

“Please have your own family isolation plan and dedicate one room as your own isolation area just to be ready because at the rate we are going, time might come that we won’t be able to accept patients in our facilities,” he said.

He said the city nevertheless continues to exhaust all means to augment its resources which still ran out despite all the preparations and the buffer the city created before the surge.

At present, home isolation is done on a case-by-case basis depending on the conditions at home subject to criteria and guidelines being implemented by the City Health Services Office.

Medical Officer Dr. Alice Torres of the City Health Services Office said there are three criteria being used to allow home isolation of positive patients: when the patient is not capable of self-care or requires special facilities; patient is asymptomatic or mild case living alone; and when all members are positive but asymptomatic or mild.

Home isolation sites must also be assessed as to their viability based on national and local guidelines.

The basic qualifications are that the room must be separate from other rooms with a separate comfort room and proper ventilation.  The house must not be crowded where there are no vulnerable family members and the patient must have access to food and necessities and patient care and support.

The city prepared early and added more isolation and quarantine units creating a big buffer before the surge.  But with the overwhelming increase in patients, the city will need to step up further and find more ways to cope.

The city has a total of 920 isolation beds in its six facilities with some units serving as stepdown and staging facilities to declog hospitals also now on full capacity.

It however continues to look for solutions by opening more isolation beds at existing facilities and opening new units.

Currently, it is working out arrangements with hotels to serve as isolation facilities. – Aileen P. Refuerzo