Ilocos Sur creates inter-agency task force vs. COVID-19

VIGAN CITY — The provincial government of Ilocos Sur created an inter-agency task force for the management of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases (EREID) that will spearhead the monitoring and implementation of control measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The multi-sectoral task force is headed by Governor Ryan Luis Singson with the Provincial Health Officer and the Provincial Agriculture Officer as vice chairpersons.

Members include the Sanggunian Panlalawigan Chair on the Committee on Health; provincial heads of the Philippine National Police, Philippine Information Agency and the Department of the Interior and Local Government; schools division superintendents; provincial officers of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Health (DOH); president of the Association of Municipal Health Officers of the Philippines-Ilocos Sur; president of the Philippine Hospitals Association-Ilocos Sur Chapter; chief of hospitals; quarantine officer; EREID team; officers from the Bureau of Immigration and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The task force formally convened for a meeting on Thursday afternoon to map out strategies and necessary measures to assess, monitor, contain, control and prevent the spread of any potential epidemic in the province of Ilocos Sur.

READ: Ilocos Sur on guard vs. coronavirus

In an Executive Order No. 6 issued by the Governor, it stated the following functions of the task force:

  • Establish a system to identify, screen and assist Filipinos suspected or confirmed to be infected with emerging infectious diseases (EID) or EREID;
  • Prevent and/or minimize the entry of suspected or confirmed patients with EID/EREID into the province. This includes rigid screening and identification of EID/EREID suspects, and the institutionalization of surveillance, alert and quarantine system in all ports of entry;
  • Prevent and/or minimize the spread of EID/EREID in the province through the establishment and reinforcement of a system in screening possible patients, contact tracing, identification of the mode of exposure to the virus and implementation of effective quarantine and proper isolation procedures;
  • Prevent and/or minimize mortality through effective clinical management, by capacitating healthcare facilities both government and private, healthcare workers, and public safety enforcers;
  • Educate the public on EID/EREID and its prevention, control, and management to promote positive health behaviors, and address public fear and anxiety through the conduct of a province-wide EID/EREID awareness campaign;
  • Adopt measures to strengthen the EREID Program of the DOH or its equivalent in other local health units;
  • Notify the DOH of EID/EREID cases in the province and its assessment of the situation;
  • Formulate, develop and oversee the EID/EREID Preparedness Manual for prevention and control; and
  • Perform such other functions and activities as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Order, or as the Governor may direct.

Meanwhile, more than 500 participants from various government and non-government sectors attended the orientation and symposium of the COVID-19 at the Candon City Civic Center on Wednesday, February 12.

It was spearheaded by the city government of Candon, headed by Mayor Ericson Singson, in partnership with the Provincial Health Office, headed by Dr. Carmeliza Singson with the Department of Health in the Ilocos, represented by Dr. Roland Zara, infectious diseases specialist.

READ: Region 1 remains free of 2019-nCoV

Dr. Singson discussed the updates on COVID-2019 cases in the country and around the world, and the decision protocols and contingency plan of the provincial government against the said disease while Dr. Zara discussed the history of the COVID-19 and the Dos and Don’ts to prevent the spread of the disease.

Anent to this, the city government of Candon formed a COVID Emergency Response Team where Mayor Singson acts as the chairperson and created the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) in each barangay as a helping hand of the local government to control the disease.

The same awareness campaign about the COVID-19 was also held in the municipality of Caoayan. ●