The city’s isolation units will be ready to accommodate the projected increase in the number of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases during the Yuletide season as the upgrading of some isolation units are still underway until the completion of more than 1,000 isolation beds by year end.
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña stated that the former Sto. Niño Hospital which is serving as the central isolation unit will have a maximum bed capacity of 400 by the end of the month compared to its present capacity of 233 beds.
Further, the 116-bed Roxas Hall and the 112-bed Hernandez Hall and Superintendent’s Quarters of the Baguio Teachers Camp is being upgraded to a 560 bed capacity by the end of the month to ensure that there will be sufficient isolation beds for patients that need to undergo isolation after contracting the deadly virus.
Aside from the aforesaid isolation units, the city was able to acquire from the government’s Oplan Kalinga under the national task force the 53-bed V dorm 2 and the 60 bed Ferionni Apartment that now serves as a quarantine facility for those individuals awaiting the release of their swab test results from the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC), the designated sub-national testing laboratory in Northern Luzon.
Earlier, the local government was able to initially source out some P12 million from Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, the country’s isolation czar, for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Sto. Niño Hospital to a 400-bed isolation unit while another P13 million was made available by the DPWH-CAR which is now being used for the upgrading of the isolation units at the Baguio Teachers Camp.
For her part, City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo explained that because of the discharges of patients in the different isolation facilities over the past several days, there are more than 500 isolation beds that are readily available which is enough to cater to the projected surge in COVID cases during the Yuletide season aggravated by the prevalence of the cold weather.
While the COVID cases in the city is on a down trend, she pointed out that it should not be a reason for people to be complacent because there might be untoward incidents that will transpire that would result to the significant increase in the cases that could stress the local health care system and overwhelm the frontiners.
According to her, the local government is on the process of converting the former Sto. Niño Hospital into a step down facility so that it will be able to accommodate mild and moderate patients from the hospitals who are on their way to recovery to free the ward and isolation beds in the private and public hospitals in the city that will be made available for symptomatic patients.
Galpo reminded residents to continue adhering to the strict implementation of the prescribed health and safety protocols such as the mandatory wearing of face masks and shields, the observance of physical distancing, regular disinfection and the practice of personal hygiene to prevent them from contracting and spreading the virus.