The Local Government Academy (LGA) recently concluded the 8th L!STONG Ugnayan, COVID-19 ay Labanan Online Talakayan Series on Strengthening Local Government Units' (LGUs') COVID-19 Response for the Luzon cluster and Visayas-Mindanao cluster of Local Chief Executives on April 21 and April 22, 2020, respectively.  OIC Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire and Dr. Beverly Ho from the Department of Health (DOH) interfaced with over 400 participants joining the online session.

Undersecretary Vergeire presented the guiding principles for the country’s “New Normal” which she describes as a whole-of-government, whole-of-system, whole-of-society approach in the fight against COVID-19. She added that measures undertaken with the new normal should be national government-enabled, local government unit-led, and people-centered COVID-19 response.


She also presented the revised case classification to align with global reporting. “Cases are aligned based on their symptoms and exposure to a probable or confirmed COVID case”, said USEC. Vergiere. According to her, the general rule is that those without exposure regardless of the manifested symptoms shall be determined as a non-COVID case.  Those with exposure, qualified as 1) with travel history from a place with transmission or 2) close contact with a person with a probable or confirmed case shall be classified as Persons Under Monitoring (PUM) if they do not have the symptoms.  

Patients are classified as suspect case if they manifest symptoms but are yet to be tested or awaiting result while probable classification are patients with inconclusive results or for any reason cannot be tested.  Positive patients are those who have been tested positive for the virus.

Usec. Vergiere emphasized that the overall objective of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from a public health perspective is to reduce human-to-human transmission of the COVID-19 virus such that case numbers decrease over time.

Other topics covered were on the COVID-19 test kits, contact tracing, handling of human remains and the data privacy implications, among others.

Ways Forward

USEC. Vergiere emphasized the key components in living under a new set-up beyond the ECQ that includes: 1) reduced vulnerability by following a healthy lifestyle; 2) reduced possibility of transmission through proper handwashing, proper hygiene, proper cough etiquette, regular disinfection, and use of appropriate personal protective equipment; 3) minimized contact between individuals with social distancing, reducing personnel, reducing face-to-face contact and limiting travel to essential activities; 4) reduced duration of infection through early identification, referral, and management mechanisms; and 5)strengthened governance and accountability through effective policies in combatting the pandemic.

Note: The transcript and video documentation of the said session will be uploaded for the consumption of the participants and the general public.

For photos click here

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