If you cannot think out of the box because it’s too small and crammed, you might as well think of the backyard with extra space plus sunshine and shade, maybe even a whiff of fresh air. Or something like that anyway.
Red Cross Chairman and Sen. Dick Gordon must’ve been thinking of something like that, having been schooled in a university with a sprawling campus, when the idea came to him to tap four universities in Metro Manila for use as extra isolation facilities for asymptomatic COVID patients living in multigenerational households. Knowing how Da Flash operates once an idea takes hold, it will just be a matter of days before those campuses will be up and running with amenities that won’t make the patients feel abandoned even when isolated. “They will be taken care of,” he promised, i.e., they will not be abandoned just because they’re in isolation.
There will be fresh bed linens as there will be shower stalls and toilets, and food not only for the patients but also their families. (So far, Red Cross has given meals to the families of 3,500 single parents). SM Malls donated 1,900 mattresses, 500 pillows, 195 sets of bed linens for the use of patients. Without a copy of the memorandum of understanding between Red Cross and the administrators of Adamson U, Ateneo de Manila, La Salle, and UP, one can only assume that the schools will shoulder the cost of utilities — water, electricity (the airconditioning alone will cost more than a pretty penny!), and security. A Red Cross ambulance will be on standby.
Initially, UP will provide 96 dormitory rooms, with Red Cross setting up the furniture for a maximum of three patients per room. Ateneo will provide 32 classrooms from the junior high school department. Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ, ADMU president, promised Senator Gordon, himself a Blue Eagle cheerleader during his college days, that he will tap alumni to raise funds.
A partnership like this between Red Cross and the academic sector is too beautiful not to be replicated all over the country. For now, no walk-ins will be entertained. Patients must be referred by the Quezon City epidemiology and surveillance unit, tel. 8703-2759, 8703-4398, and 0916-122-8628. The Red Cross hotline is 1158.