By Mario Casayuran
As the number of persons under investigation (PUI) for the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (nCoV ARD) continues to increase, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has heightened its preparations by providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to its frontline staff and volunteers to ensure their safety while handling cases of suspected coronavirus.
PRC Chairman Sen. Richard J. Gordon said the PRC is ready to respond to the coronavirus scare. “As it is important to us that we guarantee the protection of our staff and volunteers who are handling suspected cases of coronavirus, we provide them with PPE sets for them to use during operations. We want our people to be protected and for us, prevention is of highest importance.”
There are two different types of PPEs being used by the PRC.
The basic set is the standard set used by frontline workers coordinating with the families of suspected patients.
The frontline set is for staff who have direct contact with confirmed cases, such as those assigned in ambulances. These staff are required to wear three-layered clothing, double masks (medical N95 and surgical masks), and double gloves for extra protection.
“We have prepositioned PPE sets to our key chapters with international airports and to PRC regional warehouses because we want to make sure that the PPEs are available to chapters whenever needed. We will purchase more of this equipment because we’ll never know when will the spread of the virus stop. Better safe than sorry,” Gordon said.
The PRC has been vigilant in monitoring suspected cases of nCoV in the country and has been promoting health and hygiene activities such as the proper washing of hands as part of its prevention intervention.
As part of its response mechanism, the PRC ensures that ambulance crew are properly trained in infection precaution. Welfare desks are also established in airports and in hospitals, while sufficient blood supply is ensured. Likewise, the PRC is ready to provide medical tents to key hospitals in order to provide additional space for managing patients.