The CALABARZON RDC Sectoral Committee on Social Development/Social Protection (SCSD/SP) discussed the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation and management in the Region during its third quarter meeting on August 12.

As of August 11, the Department of Health Region IV-A reported that the Region has a total of 10,245 COVID-19 confirmed cases, with 3,422 recoveries, 348 deaths, and 6,475 active cases. The region is facing several issues on the management of COVID-19 such as different sources and reporting templates for contact tracing, limited supply of COVID-19 logistics and testing capacity, insufficient contact tracers, and issues on patient referral.

To address these issues, close coordination with local government units, hospitals, and concerned agencies was conducted by DOH to harmonize data sources and reports on COVID-19. Training of trainers and roll-out of orientations on contact tracing for COVID-19 was also conducted. Further, DOH identified COVID-19 navigators per province to facilitate the endorsement of patients to referral hospitals. The COVID and non-COVID patients and their families are linked to healthcare providers through the one hospital command center.

With the highest number of confirmed cases, the provinces of Laguna and Cavite reported their efforts to control the rising infection. The provinces are intensifying their efforts on enforcement and monitoring of business establishments’ compliance to health standards and protocols, contact tracing, setting up of COVID-19 laboratories, and establishment of quarantine and isolation facilities.

The pandemic also hindered the on-the-job training (OJT) of the tertiary and technical-vocational students, and the conduct of immersion programs of faculty and senior high school students. Thus, the SCSD/SP endorsed recommendations in adapting to the new normal for OJT and immersion. Among the recommendations include conduct of dialogue between the Commission on Higher Education, Professional Regulatory Commission and concerned higher education institutions in developing curriculum-related materials and enhancement of courses to compensate for reduced practical exposure. Procurement of virtual simulators and provision of in-campus work immersion setting was also recommended. These recommendations can serve as a guide in crafting policies and interventions for OJT and immersion programs of industries and academic institutions in the new normal.