Gov't orders deployment of teams to visit houses, workplaces in areas with high COVID cases

The government has ordered the deployment of teams to visit houses and workplaces in critical areas to detect people with the coronavirus disease and trace their close contacts.


The deployment of Finding Active Cases Teams (FACTS) and Contact Tracing Teams (CTTs) for active surveillance and case finding is among the measures the IATF gave to local government units to effectively contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The IATF decision came after President Duterte approved the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status for Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal until the end of the month.

"Finding Active Cases Teams (FACTs) shall visit homes of non-case, non-contacts within the critical and containment zone of the priority area to investigate if possibly a suspect case or contact of a known suspect, probable or confirmed case resides in the area," the IATF said in Resolution No. 64.

"Contact Tracing Teams (CTTs) shall coordinate or visit homes and workplaces to complete and verify profiles of suspect, probable, confirmed cases and their contacts," it said.

The two teams must identify “eligible" patients for RT-PCR testing and endorse them to the swabbing team for collection of specimens, according to the IATF.

Patients identified for referral to hospitals will be assisted through the One Hospital Command Center in the National Capital Region or through the existing referral network in other areas, the task force added.

Apart from active case surveillance, the IATF has directed all provinces and cities to strictly enforce other containment strategies such as the localized community quarantine in places with community transmission.

Minimum public health standards must also be implemented, particularly in high risk areas such as healthcare settings, wet markets, supermarkets, government offices, workplaces, public transportation, and areas with increased economic activity.

The IATF also mobilized LGUs to ensure the immediate facility-based quarantine of all suspect and probable cases as well all returning citizens and foreign nationals "even prior to the referral of the FACTs and CTTs for RT-PCR testing."

Identified symptomatic close contacts must also undergo facility-based isolation within three days from the onset of coronavirus symptoms.

Local government units are also directed to ensure availability and/or increase isolation/quarantine facilities in critical areas, even down to the level of the barangay, and including private and public establishments and workplaces.

They must also scale up local health system capacity, including dedicated mechanical ventilators, intensive care units, isolation, and ward beds for COVID-19 cases in local government hospitals and health facilities.  Complete and accurate data must likewise be submitted through COVID-Kaya and the Department of Health's DataCollect.

On Monday, the President approved the IATF's recommendation to bring back Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal to the more relaxed GCQ from August 19 to 31. These five places were placed under modified enhanced community quarantine for the past two weeks after a timeout appeal from the country's medical community.

Other places under the GCQ are Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Lapu Lapu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, and the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province.

The rest of the Philippines remain under the Modified  General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), the least restrictive lockdown level implemented by the government.