May 18, 2024

The Department of Health continues to recommend the use of masks in certain facilities and by some individuals even as its use is no longer mandatory after the President’s recent lifting of the state of national emergency.

In DOH Circular 2023-0324 issued on July 23 by Secretary Ted Herbosa, mandatory use of masks in health facilities is still recommended to protect vulnerable patients from healthcare-associated infections or those acquired during the process of receiving health care that was not present during the time of admission.

For mobile healthcare providers, the DOH still recommended continued wearing of masks.

The DOH also recommended that senior citizens, individuals with comorbidities, those who are immunocompromised, pregnant women, those who are unvaccinated, and symptomatic individuals continue wearing masks especially in crowded or poorly ventilated public spaces.

As to adherence to the minimum public health standards, DOH recommended frequent handwashing and good ventilation especially in situations where close interaction with the vulnerable populations cannot be avoided.

For those diagnosed with Covid-19, a repeat test showing a negative result or submission of medical certificate is no longer required for resumption of work or school.

For isolation and quarantine protocols, the DOH said asymptomatic close contacts do not need to undergo quarantine but are required to wear mask for 10 days.

For asymptomatic but confirmed with the Covid-19; those with mild symptoms; and with acute respiratory symptoms, home isolation for five days or until fever free for at least 24 hours without using medications to reduce fever and with improvement of respiratory symptoms, and masking for 10 days.

For those with moderate to severe symptoms or are immunocompromised, isolation for at least 10 days from the onset of signs and symptoms following advice of physician, including whether to be admitted in a healthcare facility, and masking for 10 days.

DOH also recommended the unvaccinated to have themselves vaccinated against the Covid-19.

Covid-19 continues to show a downward trend since government rolled out the vaccination. From January to Aug. 19, a total of 3,332 cases or an average of four cases daily have been recorded. There are currently 18 active cases in the region.

From March 2020 to Aug. 22, the Cordillera recorded a total of 132,568 cases where 129,655 recovered or a 97.80 percent recovery rate. – Rimaliza A. Opiña