Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients could be quarantined at home as long as they follow the protocols set by the Department of Health (DoH), a top official said as the country’s virus cases ballooned to 57,006.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said patients undergoing home quarantine should stay in a room with a bathroom and be monitored continously.

“Hindi naman po sa dini-discourage po natin ang home quarantine… pero may mga kondisyon tayo para mag-home quarantine (We do not discourage home quarantine, but there are conditions),” she added.

She said if home quarantine was impossible, the patient could be referred to local isolation and general treatment area (Ligtas) facilities managed by local government units (LGUs) or to Mega Ligtas Covid facilities that are managed by the national government.

Vergeire added that Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd had reminded Metro Manila mayors during a meeting on strong quarantine measures such as the referral of mild and asymptomatic patients to a temporary treatment monitoring facility so as not to overburden hospitals with mild and asymptomatic cases.

“Ito naman ay na-receive well ng mga Metro Manila mayors and, in fact, they are helping us with this network that we have established para maiayos natin ang mga pasyente dito sa National Capital Region (This has been well-received by Metro Manila mayors, and they are helping us with this network that we have established [in order] that we can fix our patients here in the National Capital Region),” she told reporters.

Based on DoH data, there are 12,684 probable and suspected Covid-19 patients undergoing home quarantine nationwide.

As of July 10, the country had 8,287 Ligtas Covid facilities with a total bed capacity of

70,029 and whose occupancy rate stood at 25.43 percent. Mega Ligtas Covid facilities have a total bed capacity of 3,193 and an occupancy rate of 38.76 percent.

As of Monday, the Health department reported 57,006 Covid cases, 35,036 of which were “active.”

It also recorded a huge spike in the number of recoveries, with 4,325 patients added to the tally, bringing the number of recovered patients to 20,371.

Vergeire attributed the rise in recoveries to the robust surveillance that led to the increased number of reconciled data.

Local lockdowns

Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon supported the proposal to implement a localized lockdown to ease movement restrictions in the National Capital Region.

Drilon said LGUs had been proactive in addressing the health crisis.

“Their efforts and quick actions are laudable. The government should be able to support their initiatives to contain the virus. As we have seen for the past four months, the shotgun approach did little to contain the virus. Hence, we need a more rational approach and one that will not cause too much damage to our already bleeding economy,” he added.

Sotto shared Drilon’s view on allowing localized lockdowns, saying, “Yes, I think it can work without sacrificing the areas that are open for near normalcy already.”

WITH BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO