In yet another measure to protect its employees during this pandemic, the Supreme Court has established an Emergency Care Unit (ECU) at the SC Compound in Manila which will temporarily accommodate and house the employees of the High Court and third level courts afflicted with COVID-19 and are awaiting hospital confinement or referral to appropriate quarantine facilities.
Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo approved on May 7, 2021 the Guidelines on the Use of the Supreme Court Gymnasium as ECU. Aside from SC employees, employees of Court of Appeals (CA), Sandiganbayan (SB) and the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) may avail of the ECU. The Guidelines are effective immediately.
The establishment of ECU came following the SC’s partnership with the Philippine National Red Cross (PRC) and the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) on the use and availment of the temporary isolation and quarantine facility located at DLS-CSB in Taft, Manila for judicial employees who are sick with COVID-19 and who are working in the ‘National Capital Region (NCR) Plus’ bubble. The provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal are included in the ‘NCR Plus’ bubble.
The ECU and the partnership with PRC and DLS-CSB are among the latest measures of the Court as part of the Judiciary’s continuing efforts to help its employees during this health crisis. The ECU project will be managed by the Office of the Administrative Services (OAS), led by Deputy Clerk of Court and Chief Administrative Officer Atty. Maria Carina M. Cunanan, in coordination with the SC Medical and Dental Services (SC-MDS).
Atty. Cunanan said that the ECU has already been set-up.
Located at the 5th Floor of the Supreme Court-Court of Appeals building, the ECU will have a total capacity of 55 beds to temporarily accommodate confirmed COVID-19 patients. Accommodations will be limited only to
asymptomatic patients or those with mild or moderate symptoms who are awaiting transfer to quarantine facilities or hospital confinement due to room or bed unavailability. The Court took into consideration that most of hospitals in Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces have reached full COVID-19 capacity and are unable to admit any more COVID-19 positive patients.
The ECU will hire medical personnel who will be under the direct control and supervision of the SC-MDS.
Due to its limited capacity, the availment and use of the ECU shall be on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. No walk-ins shall be allowed. Likewise, no visitors shall be allowed to enter the ECU. All concerns shall be coursed through the OCA and the SC-MDS.
However, communications through remote means between the patients and their families shall be encouraged. Mental health and psychosocial support services will also be provided in coordination with the appropriate government institutions, if necessary.
The flow of entry and exit in the ECU shall also be strictly monitored. Loitering and roaming around the premises of the ECU will be strictly prohibited. The Security in the ECU will be at its strictest.
The SC-MDS shall prepare and submit a daily report, including the daily monitoring of employees who are admitted in the ECU to the OAS-SC, which in turn shall endorse the same to the Office of the Chief Justice. Earlier, the SC partnered with the PRC and the DLS- CSB for the use of one floor of the isolation and quarantine facility in CSB, which will be allocated for the exclusive of judicial employees infected with COVID-19 and working in the ‘NCR Plus’ bubble. The said facility will only accept patients from the Judiciary if they are referred by the SC- MDS as confirmed COVID-19 positive who are asymptomatic or mild asymptomatic and they are indorsed or certified as employees of the Judiciary working in the ‘NCR Plus.’