The Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID), Philippine Hospital Infection Control Society (PHICS), and Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) present the Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines for Outpatient Clinic Resumption in the Context of COVID-19.
SARS-CoV2, the causative agent of COVID-19, is a highly transmissible virus that can infect both patients and healthcare personnel in the community, clinic, and hospital settings. The virus is spread efficiently from person to person primarily through large respiratory droplets. A secondary mode of transmission is through touching of surfaces contaminated by droplets containing the virus. The infectious dose, however, remains unknown.
The situation in the Philippines has rapidly evolved since we detected our first COVID-19 case in January 30, 2020. We now have over 11,000 confirmed cases and almost 800 deaths1. The surge of cases back in March 2020 led to the implementation of an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) with the goal of flattening the curve. In line with this, healthcare facilities and physicians decided to concentrate on inpatient care and temporarily discontinued the provision of outpatient services. A steady number of confirmed cases is currently being reported in the country daily. Based on this data, the national and local government units have decided to shift the ECQ to either a modified ECQ (MECQ) or a general community quarantine (GCQ) in different areas of the country. Once the MECQ or GCQ is implemented, outpatient services are expected to resume in order to cater to stable, ambulatory patients who may or may not be infected with SARS-CoV2.
The objective of this document is to guide clinicians in preparing for the re-opening of both hospital and non-hospital-based ambulatory care facilities, and for the resumption of outpatient services during this pandemic. Recommendations in this rapid guideline are based on best available evidence and may evolve as new evidence emerges. Thus, it is important to remember that guidelines cannot always account for individual variation among patients and are not intended to supplant physician judgment with respect to particular patients or special clinical situations. These guidelines will be updated as new evidence becomes available.