Home quarantine still allowed but with strict guidelines -- DOH

The Department of Health said Monday home quarantine for patients showing mild flu-like symptoms is still allowed as long as strict guidelines set by the government are observed.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Protocols like having your own room or space and bathroom at home must be followed if a patient suspected to have coronavirus disease with mild symptoms or asymptomatic opts to stay at the comfort of his home while quarantining, said the DOH.

Close and regular monitoring on the patient’s status during the 14-day quarantine period must also be observed, the Health department said.

Health officials, however, said that if these protocols cannot be observed at home, the patient must be brought to any local temporary treatment and monitoring facility.

“We are not discouraging home quarantine. There is even a joint administrative order allowing it but with conditions. If it could not be followed, home quarantine should not be the option, the patient should be taken to temporary treatment and monitoring facility,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega reiterated during a virtual presser in Malacanang that “it’s better for patients (with mild symptoms and asymptomatic) to undergo quarantine in temporary treatment facilities if they do not have space in their homes to avoid contaminating their family and the whole community.”

The Interagency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases, according to Vergeire, has been pushing for stronger quarantine measures to address the rising utilization rate in hospitals.

In order to decongest hospitals, the IATF said mild and asymptomatic cases should be in temporary treatment and monitoring facilities so they won’t “add up to the burden of our hospitals.”

Home quarantines that were not properly done are also being studied by the Health department as among the factors behind the rise of cases but it cannot be entirely blamed on this, Vergeire said.

“When we speak of transmission in communities, there might be a lot of factors that are being considered. So, that’s one of them but there are other factors that we want to check because that alone cannot lead to infection in a community. We are looking at that also,” Vergeire said.

She noted that Metro Manila mayors have been reminded to implement strong quarantine measures.

At present, there are 8,287 local government unit-managed facilities with 70,029 bed capacity and 14 mega quarantine facilities with 3,193 beds.

As of July 11, there are 12,684 suspected and probable COVID-19 patients undergoing home quarantine nationwide, Vergeire said. Some of them have been transferred by their local governments to the local temporary quarantine facilities.