As the COVID-19 pandemic persists and the country continues to feel its effects, the call for economic and health recovery amplifies. In response, the National Government implemented its Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate (PDITR) strategy to strike a healthy balance between responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and revitalizing the economy. The said strategy refocuses the country’s implementation strategy from risk avoidance to risk mitigation. With the implementation of the PDITR strategy, recent data showed remarkable and favorable outturn.


Under the PDITR strategy, the Department of Health’s emphasis on prevention and its mainstreaming of the Minimum Public Health Standards (MPHS) is part of the government’s efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, especially as the holiday nears and the threat of a possible increase in cases exists. Moreover, the implementation of community quarantine restrictions in several areas in the country continues to aid local government units in responding to COVID-19.


“Asahan niyo po na patuloy na ating palalakasin ang pagtugon kontra COVID-19, lalong-lalo na sa mga rehiyon mayroong malalaking bilang ng kaso. Ang ating departamento po ay laging handang magbigay ng tulong pangkalusugan at walang-tigil na serbisyo para sa ating mga kababayan,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III remarked. He added that these efforts will not be limited to COVID-19 response but will also include other health concerns that the country is facing.


Meanwhile, also under the PDITR strategy, the DOH implemented the Coordinated Operations to Defeat the Epidemic (CODE) response which shifts emphasis toward localized responses at the different barangays across the country. With 568 barangays in the National Capital Region taking part in the CODE response, active screening of those with symptoms and other activities for disease surveillance became more efficient. As of November 27, the Metro Manila Barangay CODE Updates reported a 1:7 (7 close contacts for every 1 confirmed case) contact tracing ratio, translating to a total of 87,587 (63%) close contacts traced and profiled. Of these, 53,344 contacts have been tested. Moreover, the cities of Valenzuela, Pateros, Parañaque, Pasay, Las Piñas, Marikina, and Mandaluyong reported 100% CODE implementation in their respective barangays.


In terms of the national testing capacity, there are currently 182 licensed COVID-19 testing laboratories and as of December 2, the country has conducted over 5.8 million tests on 5,528,170 individuals. Recently, a downtrend was also observed in the country’s daily positivity rate which sits at 8.9% as of December 2, 2020, from the 5,872,177 tested samples.


Furthermore, there has also been a consistent increase in the number of dedicated beds and equipment for COVID-19 care in the country, which climbed to a total of 22,242 COVID-19 beds. The current number of COVID-19 dedicated beds in the country is 21% of its total licensed beds, 1% (295 additional beds) higher than the previous reported data dated November 30, 2020. The overall current health care utilization rate (COVID-19 dedicated beds, ICU beds, Isolation and Ward beds, and Mechanical Ventilators) is 36%, which is considered as low risk as of December 3, 2020.


Patuloy po ang ating pagpapaigting ng ating health system capacity upang palakasin ang ating COVID-19 response at tugunan ang pangangailangang medikal ng ating mga kababayan. Makakaasa po tayo na hindi tayo mapapagod at patuloy na gagampanan ng gobyeryno ang tungkulin nito na paglingkuran ang sambayanan at tugunan ang krisis na ating kinahaharap,” Sec. Duque assured.