What’s life like under Alert Level 1?

What’s life like under Alert Level 1?

Joy Rojas

CMI’s internal medicine specialist gives the rundown on what to expect in the latest new normal setup

The decline in COVID-positive cases due to the Philippines’ mass vaccination program and the practice of minimum health and safety standards prompted government to place the National Capital Region and 38 other areas under Alert Level 1 on March 1, 2022. Now, health experts are even studying the possibility of deescalating further to Alert Level 0. This was discussed by infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante in a Laging Handa public briefing held last March 11.

But while doctors are able to manage COVID-19 better than when it first caught the world unaware two years ago, it certainly doesn’t mean we can let our guard down.

“The virus continues to evolve. And we continue to face major obstacles in distributing vaccines, tests, and treatments everywhere they’re needed,” says World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a media briefing held on March 9.

“I think what we’ve learned in the past two years is that COVID-19 will not be eradicated anytime soon,” avers Centre Medicale Internationale (CMI) internal medicine specialist Dr. Ronna Cheska De Leon-Yao. “It’s still very important to do things within your control to get yourself protected.”

VACCINES AND BOOSTERS are not mandatory, though everyone is encouraged to get jabbed as they are proven to protect us against COVID-19—or at least prevent its severity. “The more people are vaccinated, the sooner we achieve herd immunity and hopefully get back to our normal lives,” she says.  A booster shot, given three months after the second dose (or two months, if you took the Janssen vaccine), is also necessary as it restores vaccine efficacy, which tends to wane over time.  In fact, the Department of Health is studying the possibility of a second booster dose on the elderly and immune-compromised. Recommended by vaccine expert panel on March 8, the idea was supported by the National Task Force Against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon.  

Of late, health experts have deemed vaccines safe for the younger population. In the Philippines, COVID-19 vaccines for ages 12 to 17 years old began in October 2021, while kids aged 5 to 11 received a smaller dose of the vaccine starting February 2022.

With the availability of all vaccine brands these days, those with vaccine preference now have no reason to decline a jab. Still, any vaccine is better than no vaccine at all, says Dr. Yao. “These vaccines have consistently shown that they prevent us from getting the severe kind of disease.”

FULL CHECKUPS AFTER COVID-19 are recommended for those who experienced long COVID, or lingering symptoms of COVID-19 even after recovering from the virus. These symptoms, which can last for months, include fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, cough, colds, loss of taste, chest pain, and joint pain.

“It’s still being studied so we don’t really know what causes it or how long the symptoms last,” says Dr. Yao of the condition that can affect those who’ve had a mild, moderate, or severe case of COVID-19. “Follow up with your primary physician one month after your infection to find out why your symptoms persist. Tests can determine whether these symptoms are due to your COVID infection or are triggered by another condition.”

At CMI, a Post-COVID Care Program assesses and monitors your health after you’ve recovered from the virus. The package’s tests include a chest X-ray, ECG, complete blood count and HbA1c, a COVID-19 antibody test, consultation with an urgent care specialist, and teleconsultation for the interpretation of results.

REGULAR CHECKUPS, which many held off in the past two years for fear of contracting COVID-19 in hospitals, should be resumed. “Even if we’re still in a pandemic, it’s important to prioritize your other medical conditions,” says Dr. Yao. “Especially if you have uncontrolled comorbidities like diabetes and high blood pressure. If these are not managed, they increase your risk of getting the severe kind of COVID and other health complications.”

PREVENTIVE VACCINES may have taken a backseat to the COVID-19 vaccine, but there are dangerous repercussions to missing them. The shift in attention to COVID-19 resulted in a major measles outbreak in India (4,259), Nigeria (4,114), Somalia (2,908), and seven other countries. This report by the WHO covers the period of July 2021 to December 2021.  

“There are a lot of infectious diseases that can be prevented with a vaccine,” says Dr. Yao. “Instances like the global measles outbreak highlight the need to continue other immunizations for children and adults.”

The CMI Experience

Located in vibrant and modern Bonifacio Global City, CMI offers a comprehensive lineup of professional health services in a clean, comfortable, and private environment. Adults and children will feel safe and relaxed in a hotel-like setting that brings in natural light and lush greenery through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.  CMI’s by-appointment-only policy means you enjoy fast and efficient personalized service minus the crowds and queues.

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CMI’s Waiting Area

CMI’s Prime Health Essentials is an executive checkup package designed for specific age groups.

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CMI’s Executive Wellness Suite

Flu vaccines, pneumococcal vaccines, and other routine immunizations are administered in secure and sanitized confines.


CMI’s Pharmacy

A Basic Diabetes Screening Package helps detect, prevent, and manage diabetes through FBS, HbA1C, creatinine, and urinalysis tests.

A Basic Lipid Profile Package measures cholesterol and triglyceride levels through blood tests for cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, and VLDL.

A Renal Function Test Package keeps kidneys in check through urinalysis, creatinine, and BUN tests.

A Liver Function Test Package helps monitor the liver’s function through ALT, AST, ALP, and GGT tests.

CMI’s dental services include oral prophylaxis, dental fillings, crown, braces, tooth extraction, root canal, and dentures.

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CMI’s Dental Suite

CMI’s rehabilitation medicine offers a wide range of recovery programs.

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CMI’s Mini Gym

CMI also offers Integrative Medicine, or the bringing together of conventional medicine (prescription drugs, surgery, lifestyle changes) and complementary medicine (yoga, meditation, chiropractic therapy) in a coordinated way. This approach uses multimodal interventions in various combinations with an emphasis on treating the whole person.

Strict protocols are observed to ensure hygienic and worry-free in-person appointments. CMI has built-in high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters that reduce airborne contaminants (including viruses) in a given space. UVC lamps are used to disinfect consultation suites and treatment areas after each patient’s use.

Make regular checkups and annual physicals in CMI part of your new normal. Find the family doctor suited for your family through CMI’s roster of professional and high-caliber physicians. Knowledgeable and competent, these healthcare specialists cover the gamut of specialties and medical needs. A doctor you trust and who puts you and your family at ease is a keeper, as he or she will see you through all stages of your lives using CMI’s patient-centered approaches.

Ultimately, MINIMAL HEALTH AND SAFETY STANDARDS are still our first line of defense against COVID-19 and other diseases.

Dr. Yao encourages observing a healthy lifestyle. “Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep to strengthen your immune system against any kind of disease. People with comorbidities should also remember to take their maintenance medication and not to delay appointments with their primary care physician.”

To inquire or make an appointment, call CMI today at 0927 931 7194 or email experience@cminternationale.com.

Published 19 March, 2022

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