MANILA - Filipinos tending to COVID-19 patients at home should prepare precautionary and disinfection procedures to avoid spreading the virus at home, a health professional said Friday as the government continues to push for home care programs for mild to moderate cases of the disease.
A patient who is recuperating from COVID-19 at home should have a separate set of items, and if possible, his or her own comfort room, said former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, who now leads the Philippine Red Cross' biomolecular laboratories.
"If you bring things inside the [patient's] room, it doesn't go out any more until the patient is discharged," she said in an online forum.
"Make sure food containers are disposables. We have to make sure there is nothing that will expose other people to the virus," she said.
A patient's dirty clothes should be soaked in a bleach and water solution before it is washed, Ubial said.
"The laundry is potentially infectious... After 30 minutes [of being soaked in bleach solution], that laundry can be treated as regular laundry," she said.
Should there be a lone bathroom in the house where a COVID-19 patient is staying,
A "clean as you go" system should be done in households where a bathroom needs to be shared, she said.
"Wipe the floor with 0.5 percent Clorox or bleach solution," she said.
Door knobs, toilet bowls, faucets, pails and dippers should also be disinfected with the same solution every time a COVID-19 patients uses a shared bathroom, she said.
Once a stay-at-home COVID-19 patient recuperates from the virus and receives a negative test result, the room he or she used should be disinfected and vacated for at least 3 days, the former Health secretary said.
"It has to be exposed to room temperature and sunlight for 3 days before reusing it," she said.
"Close off the room for 3 days. Open the windows then that's when you clean the floors and windows with Clorox, not immediately after [the discharge]," she said.
Taking a cue from private hospitals, the Department of Health (DOH) earlier said it is developing COVID-19 home care kits that would be bundled with teleconsult packages to encourage patients with mild to moderate symptoms to recuperate at home as the Philippines' healthcare system remains challenged by the deluge of coronavirus patients in hospitals.
Earlier this month, several hospitals in the capital region sought help from the national government as intensive care units were "almost 100 percent" after a spike in new COVID-19 cases happened in March, a year since the virus was first detected in the Philippines.