Statement

On the latest IATF recommendations


In view of the increasing hospital care utilization rate, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Sub-Technical Working Group (sTWG) on Data Analytics has recommended the following to the National Task Force (NTF) Health Facilities Sub-Cluster:

Implement an increase in the availability of bed capacity in the National Capital Region and surrounding areas (NCR Plus Areas);
Coordinate with the relevant stakeholders to integrate monitoring of the capacity of Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMFs) in its measurement of health systems capacity;
Ensure that patients needing care are promptly and appropriately referred; and
Reassess the capacity of TTMFs, increase TTMF capacity where needed, and remove any referral quotas from hospitals.

The DOH Field Implementation and Coordination Team (FICT) and the NTF Health Facilities Sub-Cluster, on the other hand, have been instructed to immediately communicate with NCR hospitals to determine how the COVID-19 bed capacity is being allocated. Moreover, the NTF Health Facilities Sub-Cluster, together with the DOH Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service, has been instructed to increase the capacity of telehealth and telemedicine outside NCR.

The IATF sTWG on Data Analytics has also recommended that the One Hospital Command Center ensure as close to real-time updating of health systems capacity as possible based on functional bed capacity to take into consideration the level of available health care workers.

Meanwhile, the IATF sTWG on Data Analytics has tasked the Community Response Cluster and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to ensure that Emergency Operations Centers with functional triage areas are in place in all local government units. These shall oversee patient navigation so that only those needing hospitalization are brought to the health facilities. They are also directed to ensure that those undergoing home isolation or quarantine are monitored by Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams and that access to testing, treatment, and facility referral be made available, especially the elderly, those with comorbidities, or those belonging to vulnerable sectors. They have likewise been directed to intensify active case finding in the NCR Plus areas and to intensify active case finding and contact tracing strictly up to the 3rd generation in all areas under Alert Level 2.

Additionally, the IATF sTWG on Data Analytics has recommended the following to the COVID-19 Laboratory Network: (1) increase RT-PCR testing capacity in NCR Plus areas so as to handle the influx of tests by ensuring that laboratories are operational seven days a week; (2) prioritize A2 and A3 populations for testing; (3) fast-track applications for Licenses to Operate for new RT-PCR laboratories; and (4) promptly provide commodities for swabbing and testing.

Finally, the National Vaccination Operations Center is directed to increase vaccination rates outside NCR as soon as possible.

We encourage all who become symptomatic to immediately isolate as this will help control transmission. Home isolation is recommended for those with mild or asymptomatic COVID-19. But local government units should be able to provide services such as telemedicine and immediate referral so that those requiring additional management may be assessed and treated appropriately.