Self-help vs. COVID-19 urged among households, workplaces as battle shifts to their turfs

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The Baguio City government is urging residents to foster self-reliance in their homes and workplaces in protecting themselves and in responding to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) emergencies.

COVID-19 responders said it is time for families and organizations to be empowered by taking up some responsibilities in the protracted COVID-19 fight as the battle had now shifted in their own turfs.

With the ongoing spike in cases believed to be driven by the more contagious Delta variant, City Epidemiologist Donnabel Panes and Lead Contact Tracing Team Member Mischelle Junio said households and workplaces are now the two hotspots in case clustering in the city.

They said cases in households and work areas had been observed to increase in levels not seen before even during the Alpha and Beta outbreak.

“Before, only one or two members get infected by the patient but now, almost everyone in the family get it including even the young ones,” Junio observed.

“The battle is now in these two places because they are where we are lax with our guards but it is time for families and organizations to declare a war, empower themselves to take over the virus,” Panes said.

The call for self-sufficiency also came as the city scrambles to augment its resources now stretched to the brink by the ongoing surge despite early and resolute preparations.

“We are in a disaster.  We have to bring back the power to the people’s hands.  While the government is doing its part, people should not rely on it for everything.  We have to have personal and collective efforts to achieve our goal of surviving the pandemic,”  Panes said.

To gain self-empowerment against the virus, the city fosters the following self-sufficiency measures:

Self-restraint/self-discipline — Sacrifice and abstain from gatherings and risky outdoor or indoor activities.  Observe public health standards in and outside your home.

Self-plan — Do your own “COVID family planning” on what to do when a member gets infected, home isolation, food supply and delivery, care bubble for the elderly and the sickly.  Educate yourselves on the city’s different COVID processes including testing, contact tracing, isolation and hospitalization and keep numbers of various helplines especially your district health centers and Barangay Health Emergency Teams (BHERTs).

Self-assessment and self-quarantine/isolate – Watch out for symptoms and treat it as warning signs.  Immediately contact your health districts or BHERTs assessment and endorsement for testing.

“If you have symptoms, assume that it is already COVID, so quarantine yourself, wear mask, avoid interacting with family members.  Avoid going out.  We are in a pandemic, you need to protect others, get swabbed and isolated on day 1,” Panes said.

Self-taught contact tracing – The obligation to inform your contacts not only rests with the contact tracing team but also with you.  Teach family members keep a record of the places they went to and persons they were with.  Organizations and individuals may request training with the CT team to be able to do their own.

Self-lockdown – When on lockdown, police yourself and your own household.  You signed an undertaking to abide by all the lockdown restrictions, please respect it.  Responsible persons do not need policemen watching over them 24/7.  – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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