More schools within and outside Metro Manila are being eyed by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) as isolation centers for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients who are asymptomatic.
“Right now, we’re tapping more than 10 schools, we’re also trying to negotiate with schools outside Manila – Bulacan, Antipolo – so we can put up isolation facilities there for asymptomatic patients,” PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Richard Gordon said during an online press conference on Wednesday, April 21.
Gordon underscored the need to have more isolation centers in order to curb the further spread of COVID-19. Related to this, PRC signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) for the opening of an isolation facility in Manila with the cooperation of the city’s local government unit.
During the virtual MOA signing, De La Salle Philippines President Br. Armin Luistro, FSC commended Gordon for being a “catalyst” who brings people who want to contribute in the fight against COVID-19 together.
“This project is providential and the help of the City of Manila is critical so we’re giving our 101 percent support and continued prayers,” Luistro said.
Gordon, on the other hand, also commended Luistro for “extending help without hesitation.” Starting 7 p.m. on April 21, the COVID-19 Isolation Facility in DLS-CSB has started accepting asymptomatic patients that were endorsed by the LGU or the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU). They will be allowed to stay in these facilities for free.
PRC turned unused classrooms in DLSU-CSB into a 135-bed capacity isolation facility that will serve asymptomatic patients from the City of Manila. A total of 27 rooms in three floors are being utilized for the project.
The PRC equips the isolation facility with beds, blankets, pillows, bed covers, stand fans. In addition, Gordon said that PRC will provide each patient with a “Quarantine Kit” which contains essential items good for 7 to 14 days of isolation.
He added Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) of the staff caring for these patients will similarly be issued by PRC. “We will not allow anybody to get sick but everyone should always remember that you are your own guardian,” he added.
Aside from DLS-CSB, PRC has also put up temporary isolation facilities in Ateneo De Manila University (AdMU), University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman, and Adamson University (AdU).
PRC said that Ateneo and UP campuses have already accepted patients. “The coming weeks will see more such facilities in Metro Manila as PRC redoubles its efforts to contain the effect of asymptomatic spreaders,” PRC said.
Meanwhile, Gordon cited the willingness of these schools to extend help by offering their spaces and facilities.
“This is the first time from memory that all these schools helped simultaneously and it sends a very strong signal that we should learn from the leaders of these schools,” Gordon added, noting that “leadership is not just about the title” – it is about taking an action.