City Government of Baguio
21 March 2020-present
- Management for Productivity, Quality, and Agility
- Perspectives on Productivity, Governance, and Development
In response to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in early March 2020, the City Government of Baguio enforced a systematic and efficient triage system for organizing and handling the various medical emergencies of its citizens.
Background and Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the carrying capacity of health systems throughout the world, resulting in overwhelmed and crowded medical and healthcare facilities. Local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines struggled to provide an effective response to the crisis, particularly in the earlier days of the outbreak. Identifying potential COVID-19 cases and organizing where patients go and what services they receive quickly became critical in addressing the citizens’ needs while attempting to control the spread of the virus, particularly among healthcare professionals.
Solution and Impact
The Baguio LGU first set up a triage system on 21 March 2020, covering all health centers, the main Health Services Office, City Hall, and other city government workplaces. This has since been expanded to include the Baguio City Central Triage, checkpoint triages at the various entries into the city, and several other triage centers implemented with partners such as the Diocese of Baguio, Camp John Hay, and the Parkway Molecular Laboratory.
For outsiders entering the city such as returning Baguio residents (RBRs) and tourists, documents such as medical certificates, PNP-issued travel authorities, and Health Declaration Forms are required for entry through the system’s multiple checkpoint triages. Those with symptoms are escorted to the triage of their chosen hospital, while those without symptoms proceed to the Central Triage to be processed.
The triage system has been managing potential COVID-19 cases efficiently and effectively. Records show that out of 1,048 workers who entered the city from 7 to 27 May 2020, 11.9% were found to have pneumonia, tuberculosis, and heart problems, which are comorbidities associated with coronavirus. Having a network of triages has also a positive on the healthcare system as a whole, as testing backlogs at major hospitals such as the Benguet General Hospital and Medical Center have been minimized, allowing work to proceed with the mass testing of priority health workers and other virus-prone jobs such as drivers and vendors.
As of 26 October 2021, the Baguio LGU extended its medical triage to all fully vaccinated tourists entering the city, requiring the presentation of travel documents, VISITA registration, vaccination certification, and confirmed bookings with IATF-approved hotels. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated adults and minors aged 12 to 17 must present negative results of an Antigen or RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours before arrival or during health screening at the City Triage. Minors aged 11 and below may be tested with clearance from their accompanying parents or adult guardian.
Requirements for Entry and Exit in Baguio (Source: Dr. Celia Flor Cascolan-Brillantes, MD, MPH, PHSAE, FPSVI)
Requirements upon entering Baguio City as of October 2021
(source: Public Information Office – Baguio City FB Page)
Baguio City Central Triage (Source: Public Information Office – Baguio City)
Medical Triages for Outbound in PFVR Gymnasium and Athletic Bowl (Source: Dr. Celia Flor Cascolan-Brillantes, MD, MPH, PHSAE, FPSVI)
Cascolan-Brillantes, C. (2020, October 15). COVID-19: The Baguio experience. City Government of Baguio. [Presentation]
Catajan, M. (2020, May 20). Baguio City prepares for returning residents. Sunstar Baguio. https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1857158/Baguio/Local-News/Baguio-City-prepares-for-returning-residents.
Geminiano, P. (2020, June 7). Baguio keeps strict quarantine checkpoints despite MGCQ. Philippine News Agency. https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1105155
Public Information Office – City of Baguio. (2020, May 23). St. Vincent Central Triage – The city’s central triage had been set up at the St. Vincent gym along Naguilian Road
[Status Update]. Facebook.
Public Information Office – City of Baguio. (2021, October 26) We now welcome FULLY VACCINATED tourists (except those from ECQ, MECQ, Levels 4 and 5 areas)
[Status update] Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/profile/100044399560402/search/?q=triage