Mayor open to use rehab center as quarantine hub

Mayor open to use rehab center as quarantine hub

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija — The mayor here, which hosts Fort Ramon Magsaysay, has welcomed the government’s plan to quarantine returning Filipinos from China in the Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center.

Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas based her decision on the idea that the Department of Health (DOH) will take all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

“As a nurse I am alright, I am okay with it as long as there is a proper confinement, proper protection of the services of service personnel, the visiting relatives kung ia-allow nila yun, yung mga other personnel yung mga sundalo (if they will allow them and other personnel, the soldiers),” Cuevas said.

She, however, admitted that she has yet to talk with her constituents as she is still awaiting word from the DOH.

Cuevas said the 2019-nCoV is not “super airborne” and can only be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person.

She echoed DOH’s advice to people to boost their immune system to prevent acquiring the virus.

Meanwhile, Nueva Ecija third district Rep. Rosanna Vergara has sought close coordination between DOH and the concerned local government units (LGUs) in connection with the planned quarantine at the rehabilitation center.

Underscoring the need for correct information, Vergara said she has to be informed of the DOH’s plans “so that I am able to relay the right information to my constituents and provide the assistance the DOH needs to ensure the safety and well-being of the patients as well as my constituents.”

She, however, said the DOH might also consider a better-equipped facility.

“We have the Center for Disease Control located in Las Piñas — might this facility be better equipped to handle the coronavirus as it was built precisely for cases like the coronavirus and it has the medical personnel trained to handle cases like this?” Vergara said.

She noted that the Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center was built as a facility for drug users who voluntarily seek help to overcome their drug dependence.

“The facility was built for this objective– it has recreational facilities, common bathrooms, meeting rooms — in short, it is a drug rehab center,” Vergara said.

“This facility does not have negative pressure rooms to isolate cross-contamination from room to room. Rooms which are vital to ensure that those positively infected will not spread the disease to those patients who are under observation. It does not have the medical personnel trained for highly contagious, fatal diseases,” she said.

She hoped the DOH will take the necessary steps and “ensure that the local population living in and near this area specifically the soldiers and residents of Laur, Palayan and Cabanatuan will not be exposed to this highly contagious coronavirus.”

“We have to come together as a nation to combat this disease– this is not only the problem of Wuhan, China or people who have tested positive or have been exposed to the virus,” Vergara added.  Marilyn Galang /PNA –