The city was able to establish a buffer in available isolation beds in the different temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMFs) as part of the local government’s contingency plan in preparation for the potential surge in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases triggered by the emergence of the Delta Variant.
Currently, the city’s health care utilization rate in the various private and public health facilities is around 77 percent while the occupied beds in the various isolation units is approximately 33 percent.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong stated that the local government continues to work on the further increase in the number of isolation beds at the Baguio City Community Isolation Unit based at the former Sto. Nin֮o Hospital to make sure that the local health care system will not be compromised once there will be a surge in COVID-19 cases.
He said that the local government intends to increase the isolation center’s bed capacity to an additional 150 beds with the use of the available P20 million from the public works department for the realization of the hike in bed capacity to be able to accommodate suspected and probable COVID-19 patients required to undergo the facility-based quarantine and isolation.
From the current 879-bed capacity of the existing isolation units located in the different parts of the city, the local government plans to increase the same to over 1,000 to ensure the existence of a buffer to ensure that patients required to undergo the required facility-based isolation will be accommodated during the projected surge in cases because of the emergence of the Delta variant.
Earlier, the local chief executive confirmed that there are already 2 Delta variant cases in the city, one of whom is a returning Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), a 34-year old seaman from Barangay Irisan who arrived in the country last July 18, 2021 and a 23-year old faculty member of an international language school based in Barangay Camp 7.
He stipulated that the concern is not on the OFW but it is on the local transmission of the Delta variant as aggressive contact tracing is now being done on his close contacts to ensure that they will be subjected to the appropriate quarantine or isolation to avert the further spread of the more infectious variant in the city.
Aside from the 360-bed isolation center of the city at the Sto. Nino Hospital, the local government also operates the 316-bed isolation center at the Roxas and Hernandez Halls of the Baguio Teachers Camp, the 10-bed Magsaysay Hall, the 102-bed Laurel dormitory for health workers and the 12-bed central triage facility while the 6-bed Eurotel and the 40 bed Ferionni Apartment had been made available courtesy of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) in the Cordillera.
Health authorities have been pushing for facility-based isolation for confirmed COVID-19 patients even if they are asymptomatic to prevent the clustering of cases in households that tend to trigger the spike in cases in the different parts of the country, especially with the threat being imposed by the more infectious Delta variant and to ensure that the positive cases will strictly adhere to the prescribe isolation.