A new Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility (TTMF) with 330-bed capacity opened yesterday, April 14, 2021 at the Manila Times College of Subic in Zambales, as the national government continue to increase healthcare capacity to address the current surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.
“Isa itong magandang halimbawa ng kolaborasyon ng publiko at pribadong sektor. Patunay ito na kapag tayo ay nagkakaisa mas marami tayong magagawa,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr in his press briefing on April 15, 2021.
The Palace official further said that this is only the beginning as the national government plans to have a mega treatment monitoring facility for the whole North Luzon and the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus.
Secretary Roque said that as of April 11, 2021, according to data from the Department of Public Works and Highways, there are now 78 TTMFs in the NCR with a total bed capacity of 6,985. Currently, Sec. Roque said that the NCR TTMFs have a 66.17 percent occupancy rate or 4,622 beds that are occupied.
In the same press briefing, Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, a consultant of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF), also mentioned about the importance of government and private sector cooperation in dealing with the pandemic saying that the NTF has been working closely with the private sector and business sector, together with medical societies, local government units (LGUs), and other stakeholders in providing solutions to address the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Secretary Roque believes that the use of the StaySafe.ph app will greatly improve the government’s contact tracing efforts.
“Sa akin po, ang talagang the best development is yung paggamit natin ng StaySafe. Naantala po talaga ang paggamit nyan because of the usual bureaucracy, pero sa akin napaka importante po na gamitan natin ng teknolohiya pagdating po dito sa contact tracing. And I think that now all obstacles have been hurdled, mas mapapabuti na po talaga yang ating contact tracing,” said Sec. Roque, who is the concurrent spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force.
Department of the Interior and Local Government Officer-in-Charge Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr said that an additional 4,754 contact tracers will be hired under the Department of Labor and Employment’s TUPAD Program. These contact tracers will be distributed to the different NCR LGUs, said Usec. Florece.
On the matter of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Dr. Eric Domingo said that the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the country’s Vaccine Expert Panel, and the Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) committee, and FDA experts were unanimous in saying that the benefits of using the vaccine outweighs the known and potential risks.
Dr. Domingo added that the country’s own AEFI has not seen similar adverse events or the possibility of blood clotting events that were observed in Europe, which were found to be rare .
With this development, Dr. Domingo said he has written to Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III to reiterate that the vaccine can be continued to be used for the Philippines’ vaccination program.
With the expected arrival of the next batch of AstraZeneca vaccines in two to three weeks, Dr. Domingo said that this gives the DOH time to craft additional guidelines since there is a need to advise those who will be vaccinated that there is the possibility of the mentioned rare side effect and what to do if symptoms occur. The FDA Chief also reminded vaccinators to be guided on what symptoms to be on the lookout for, and on who should and should not be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. ### OPS-PCOO