It was March 2020 and the Philippines was just fresh from experiencing the Taal Volcano eruption disaster in Batangas Province when a new challenge surfaced that eventually affected not only the Philippines but the entire world as well. A new emerging infectious disease, now known as COVID-19(SARS COV), was quickly declared a Pandemic. Fear and uncertainty gripped almost all health facilities (Public and Private), Government institutions involved and Local Government Units. This was due to the fact that there was limited knowledge then about the emerging infectious disease. Adding to the problem was the logistics nightmare of supplying limited numbers of PPEs that were badly needed in the management of the disease.
RizalMed, a tertiary DOH-Retained hospital, in the Eastern part of National Capital Region (NCR) did its very best as it rose to the challenge. The hospital adapted quite quickly to the situation by modifying the Emergency Room to accommodate clean and infectious patients.
Some areas in the clinical wards were converted to accommodate admitted COVID-19 infected patients. RizalMed-HEMS did its part in the management of the pandemic. During the initial stage of the response, majority of the HEMS logistics were mobilized to address the situation. HEMS Portable Family Tents were set-up at the side of Building B near the ER as initial receiving area for confirmed/suspect/probable patients.
Portable cot beds were provided to some personnel who were affected by the lockdown.
Even the 5 Mountain Bikes that were meant for emergency and disaster use were provided to essential personnel as a means of transportation in reporting to work instead.
Portable Handheld Radios were also provided as additional means of communication.
As RizalMed-HEMS’ Covid 19 response evolved, additional portable tents were set-up in front of the hospital for patients with Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) and as a Surgery Department consultation area.
RizalMed-HEMS also coordinated regularly with HEMB for essential logistical support on PPEs like Bio suit, N95, gowns, etc. To manage this Covid 19 incident more efficiently, RizalMed-HEMS established The Hospital Emergency Incident Command System with Dr. Roel Tito A. Marcial, the DRRM-H Manager, as the designated Incident Commander. The said Incident Command Post was established as the hub for all activities involving communication and coordination for the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic response.
RizalMed-HEMS was also deployed under the Balik Probinsya Program to assist Locally Stranded government employees in Luneta, Manila and in Villamor Airbase, Pasay City.
At present, HEMS portable tents are being utilized to serve various functions: as logistics storage area being handled by the Materials Management Department, as Holding and Swabbing area for the regular weekly RT-PCR testing of hospital personnel, and as holding area for OB-GYNE consultations.