To help mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in communities, the Quezon City government has released guidelines for barangays on how to properly establish and operate their own quarantine facilities.
In her memorandum dated August 21, 2020, Mayor Joy Belmonte stressed the importance of barangay-based isolation facilities in the fight against the deadly virus.
“These facilities enable immediate isolation of asymptomatic or mild cases, or suspect and probable cases,” Belmonte said, adding it will provide a safe environment for the community and prevent the spread of the virus to nearby areas.
“Also, the barangay quarantine facilities will help free up hospital beds for moderate, critical or severe cases,” she pointed out.
According to Dr. Rolly Cruz, head of the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU), barangays that are interested in putting up their own isolation facilities may coordinate with the City Health Department (CHD) through 8703-2723 or 8703-8794 for proper guidance.
“It would be best if they coordinate with us so we can teach them how to properly establish and effectively run an isolation facility,” Dr. Cruz said.
Based on the guidelines, the facility must be enclosed with windows and doors and should be adequately lit and well-ventilated, with barangays providing at least an electric fan, appropriate furniture and beds, uninterrupted power supply, running water and access to laundry service.
In addition, the facility must have access to the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT), and other government and health authorities who will be responsible for monitoring patients admitted into the facility. It also must be within a maximum of two hours travel to a hospital.
Those who can be admitted to barangay-based facilities are confirmed COVID-19 patients, who have asymptomatic or mild symptoms and confirmed cases who were previously admitted to a hospital or HOPE facility but are now recovering and just completing the required minimum 14-day quarantine.
Barangays can also admit confirmed patients previously discovered in their homes and who are not capable of isolation, but who are recovering and may feasibly complete the minimum 14-day quarantine period in a barangay facility.
Suspected or probable cases and close contacts of confirmed cases who are waiting for their swab test results or their schedule for swab test, persons showing COVID-19 symptoms and confirmed or suspect cases waiting to be transferred to a HOPE facility can also be admitted.
"However, barangay isolation facilities should not accept patients with moderate or severe symptoms as these must be referred to the nearest hospital," warned Cruz.
Barangays with excess capacity in their quarantine facilities are encouraged to allow admission of patients from neighboring barangays.
Several QC barangays have already established their own isolation centers even before the release of the guideline.