March 31, 2023

The city government has ordered its health services office to put in place a system that will enable patients on home isolation access medical services without going to the hospital. 

Among those who can avail of the program are individuals suspected of or positive for Covid-19, persons with moderate and mild symptoms of the virus who are waiting for the results of their RT-PCR test result, and those completing self-isolation. 

Adoption of telemedicine and home care are part of the ongoing efforts of concerned government agencies and the local government in response to the high occupancy rate of public and private hospitals due to the surge in Covid-2019 cases.

The Department of Health Cordillera reported as of April 11, the region has an overall hospital occupancy rate of 75.37 percent, while Baguio City is at 89.62 percent. 

Based on the guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, government hospitals are required to allocate not less than 30 percent of their bed capacity for Covid-19 patients while private hospitals are required to allot 20 percent. 

The DOH said private hospitals in the region admitted their inability to further expand their Covid-19 bed allocation due to logistics and manpower limitations.

“Mayor Benjamin Magalong instructed local health authorities to consider home care with telemedicine as part of the strategy to control the number of Covid-19 patients admitted in local health facilities,” City Public Information Officer Aileen Refuerzo said. 

She said patients will still receive quality health care even if they are at home as health workers will be visiting them for their required daily checkups.

The home care system aims to ensure that patients suspected of or positive for Covid-19 are closely monitored, attended to, and guided on their health condition and recovery through a supervised continuity of care whether at their own home or in a hotel.

The system has been recommended for patients who are experiencing mild symptoms of the virus as health experts believe that not all patients diagnosed with Covid-19 need to be hospitalized. 

Baguio’s health care facilities are not only used by residents but also by those from the Mountain Province, Benguet, and even from Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon. – PNA