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Bataan forms outbreak response team on Covid-19

BALANGA CITY, Bataan – The provincial government here called for an emergency meeting on Wednesday for the establishment of a Bataan Outbreak Response Team (BORT) in preparation for a worst-case scenario should there be cases of local transmission of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the province.

Dr. Rosanna Buccahan, provincial health officer, said early preparations will be helpful to residents and even visitors.

“While there is a risk, we have no confirmed case of Covid-19 in Bataan. The province should be ready to handle extreme scenarios,” she said.

Buccahan said all efforts should be put in place to have the highest level of services and arrangements to bring all local government officials on board and work in a synchronized manner to take action to protect the communities.

BORT will have five teams — surveillance, medical management, communications, logistics and governance.

The provincial health officer said that as of March 10, there were 108 persons under monitoring (PUMs) and six patients under investigation (PUIs) but all of them were found negative of the virus.

Buccahan said the province’s incident action plan calls for the activation of the rapid response team, close coordination with the stakeholders for prompt detection and referral of PUI and severe acute respiratory infection, mobilization of investigation team for identified PUIs following the Covid-19 decision tool, and close coordination with hospital teams for PUI management.

She said there will also be close monitoring of churches, schools, restaurants, resorts, bus terminals, supermarkets, public markets, cockpit arena and other industries that are required to report to hospitals and health centers incidents of monitored fever, flu-like illness, pneumonia/respiratory illness in the communities.

Hospitals and rural health units in turn, Buccahan said, are required to report daily with cut off time at 3 p.m. to the provincial health office.
Governor Albert Garcia said after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a State of Public Health Emergency, he also immediately called for the meeting.

“Nagpatawag ako ng local health board meeting to align our measures para maiwasan natin ang paglaganap ng coronavirus sa Bataan. Maraming napag usapan sa meeting tulad ng mga protocol in place at high-end alert dahil nasa code red tayo ngayon level one para ang mga kailangang gawin ay magawa natin (I called for a local health board meeting to align our resources in order to avoid the spread of coronavirus in Bataan. There were lots of things discussed like protocols in place at high-end alert because we are now under Code Red [Sub-level 1] so that the needed things to be done, be made immediately),” he said.

Garcia said he has also directed the cancelation of events involving big crowds.

He cited as an example the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) game between Barangay Ginebra and Black Water Elite that was scheduled Saturday at the Bataan People’s Center but postponed to a later date.

“Sa ating mamamayan, ang importante ay proper hand washing hygiene, proper cough etiquette, social distancing ay ating gawin dahil makatutulong ito at makinig sa otoridad ng malagpasan natin ang problemang ito (To our constituents, it is important to do proper hand washing hygiene, proper cough etiquette, social distancing because these can help and listen to authorities in order for us to overcome this problem),” he said.

Owners and representatives of private hospitals, officials of government hospitals, barangay and rural health workers, barangay leaders, municipal and provincial officials, and members of the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Quarantine, among others, attended the emergency meeting.

Before entering the venue of the meeting, all of them underwent thermal scanning and disinfected their hands with alcohol.

“No shake hands, No beso-beso (kissing or cheek-to-cheek greeting),” signs were posted on doors and tables. (PNA)

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