Belmonte orders review of COVID-19 protocols

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Belmonte orders review of COVID-19 protocols
Residents in a compound in Brgy. Pinyahan, Quezon City which was placed under special concern lockdown due to COVID-19 cases receive food aid on Sept. 15, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — Following COVID-19 outbreaks in two convents and an orphanage, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has directed local health officials to review COVID-19 protocols in closed-setting facilities and other high-risk institutions.

Belmonte ordered the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) to be more proactive in testing those staying in convents, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, homes for the aged, shelters for street children, halfway homes for victims of violence and abuse, hospices and correctional facilities.

She also asked the city architect and Department of the Building Official to recommend ways in which these facilities could retrofit buildings to curb COVID-19 transmission.

“We cannot be reactive every time there is an outbreak. We have seen recent outbreaks in such high-risk facilities. We must be proactive. We will test them and check if they have strict health protocols in place,” Belmonte said.

The mayor also directed the CESU to determine the vaccination status of people staying or working in these facilities, noting that the city government is willing to organize special vaccination programs.

City hall confirmed yesterday that an outbreak of COVID-19 was reported in a second convent located in the city.

The Convent of Holy Spirit in Barangay Immaculate Conception was placed under a special concern lockdown after 22 people, including 13 nuns, tested positive for the virus.

Most of the infected nuns are between 80 and 101 years old, the local government said.

The convent was put under the care of doctors from St. Luke’s Medical Center.

On Wednesday, the city government reported that 114 people, including 64 nuns, at the Religious of the Virgin Mary Convent in Barangay Kaunlaran had tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement, the convent said only 62 nuns were infected with the virus.

Last week, 122 residents of Gentle Hands Orphanage, including 99 minors, contracted the viral disease.

The local government said contact tracing and mass testing are underway to contain the spread of the virus.

Belmonte urged the administrators of such facilities to ensure that health protocols are strictly observed and that suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases are immediately reported to the city government. – Robertzon Ramirez

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