When to home isolate or home quarantine?
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) is already encouraging the public to home isolate or home quarantine considering that facilities in Cebu have been damaged due to Typhoon Odette.
Doctor Mary Jean Loreche, the chief pathologist of the DOH-7, said that this move is in response to the fact that many of the Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility (TTMF) are unserviceable at the moment.
“Kung ikaw positive nya naa kay mild symptoms, ikaw ay bakunado, ikaw naay kapasidad nga didto ra ka sa balay nimo, didto ra ka sa balay. Ayaw adto sa hospital para atong hospital atong gamiton para lang sa nanginahanglan,” said Loreche.
So how do you determine when to start home isolation or home quarantine?
In a meeting with barangay chiefs of Cebu City, Doctor Bryan Lim, an infectious diseases expert, said that the difference between home isolation and home quarantine is simple: isolation means you proved positive to COVID-19 while quarantine means you have not yet been tested or awaiting test results.
Whether home quarantine or home isolation, the days and manner are the same.
The patient will remain isolated in a room separate from the rest of the house, the patient must have access to a bathroom, and someone must be available to monitor the patient’s status.
The contact tracing team will determine upon testing if the house is qualified for home isolation and will also inform the barangay for monitoring by barangay health workers.
The first day of a quarantine starts either on the day testing is done or when the symptoms appeared, whichever is first.
If the individual is vaccinated and turns out positive with no symptoms, the isolation days will reach seven days only. If they are close contacts of a positive case, even without testing, they must quarantine for 7 days.
If the individual is unvaccinated and turns out positive with no symptoms, the isolation days will be longer at 14 days, to ensure that the patient does not develop any symptoms within the incubation period of the virus.
If a patient proves positive after testing, the days quarantined while awaiting results will be included in the total number of isolation days. So if the patient is quarantined for two days before receiving the results, the isolation days will continue until the 7 or 14 days are completed.
For patients with mild symptoms, the isolation is for 10 days regardless of vaccination status.
If the patient develops moderate to severe symptoms, the isolation is 21 days. However, it must be noted that moderate to severe symptoms may be in need of hospitalization so the 21 days will likely be spent in medical treatment, anyway.
Patients with moderate to severe symptoms who will be released from the hospital before the 21-day isolation will end will be urged to complete the remaining days of isolation at home to reduce the risk of transmission to others.
Cebu City barangays prepare
Councilor Joel Garganera, the deputy chief implementor of the EOC, said the barangays have already been briefed on how to handle home isolations.
Condominiums and subdivisions will also be asked to have an isolation center or isolation rooms so they can handle their own residents.
“Let us be responsible for ourselves. Dili na kay isalig tanan sa gobyerno. Manage your symptoms, contact your doctor or the EOC for guidance,” said Garganera.
Councilor Franklyn Ong, the president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), said that the barangay will face quite a challenge in monitoring these home isolated individuals.
The challenge is to ensure they don’t leave their homes so some barangays are proposing to cordon households with positive cases so even neighbors can help monitor.
Ong said that there are still no clear sanctions on those who will violate the quarantine or isolation, but the barangays will ensure that the patients will be assisted as much as they can.
“Mamonitor lang gyod na namo as much as possible,” said Ong. /rcg
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