By Faith Argosino
A close encounter with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 can be inevitable, especially for people who need to work or run errands outside their homes.
That’s why the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Disease (IATF) requires people to use face mask, face shield and observe social distancing.
According to the guideline released by Department of Health (DOH), a “close encounter” in the context of COVID-19 means a one-meter and 15-minute interaction with an infected person, direct physical contact, and interaction without the proper protective equipment.
Contact the Barangay Health Response Team
If you happen to have close contact with a COVID-19 positive person, informing your Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) is the first step.
BHERT is a community-based organization in charge of all COVID-related healthcare.
They visit homes to interview and check on people with symptoms of COVID-19, assist the Local Epidemiology and Surveillance Units, and contact tracing teams.
Take a COVID-19 test
They will advise if you will need to take a COVID-19 test, and following a positive result, will give a referral to the temporary treatment and monitoring facility (FFMF) where the patient will be isolated
The test administered will either be RT-PCR or an antigen test.
As you wait for the test result, you will be advised to quarantine at home. If the result is negative, then quarantine will carry on for 14 days. However, if the test shows that you contracted the virus, then one needs to be isolated.
Isolation depends on the severity of symptoms
If you have severe or critical symptoms, BHERT will refer you to a hospital. On the other hand, if you are either asymptomatic or with mild or moderate symptoms, going to a TTMF or home isolation is your option.
Some local government units will advise strict isolation in a facility. Other LGUs allow home isolation if there is a separate room with bathroom for the patient, and no family member belongs to the vulnerable population.