The city continues to gain headway in increasing the number of isolation facilities to meet the needs for a possible surge in the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases two weeks after the Yuletide season.
City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo disclosed the health department committed to the city government some P10 million for an additional isolation facility that can be used by the city even beyond the pandemic.
She claimed the city government is in search for the appropriate area for this planned isolation facility that may be used for other important city functions in the future after the pandemic.
Earlier, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong accessed from Public Works Secretary Mark Villar some P12 million which was used to rehabilitate and upgrade the city’s central isolation facility at the former Sto. Niño Hospital for the increase of its 233-bed capacity to 400.
Further, some P13 million was again released by the regional office of the public works department for the improvement of the city’s isolation facility with the purchase of some 500 hospital beds to be used in the different isolation facilities.
The city plans to increase the capacity of the isolation facilities from its over 600-bed capacity to at least 1,000 by the end of the month in anticipation of the worst case scenario.
However Galpo admitted that because of the increasing number of patients being discharged from the isolation facilities over the past several days, the occupancy rate of the isolation units is pegged at 24 percent, thus, there is a sufficient number of isolation beds for future patients.
On the other hand, the hospital bed wards and intensive care unit beds are in the warning to critical zones in the different private and public hospitals in the city although most of the occupied beds are being freed by the patients who are recovering from the deadly virus.
The city also allowed Benguet to use one of its isolation facilities, specifically the V-dorm 1 with a bed capacity of 80, following the sudden surge in the number of COVID cases in some of the mining towns and the capital town of La Trinidad since the last week of October up to the first two weeks of November.
The city government also erected a 24-bed capacity isolation unit within the premises of the Baguio Convention Center (BCC) to serve as a quarantine and isolation facility for those testing positives for the virus.
Galpo stated that with the continues increase in the bed capacity of the city’s isolation facilities, the needs in the projected surge in the number of cases during the Yuletide season because of unavoidable gatherings among families to celebrate the Christmas and New Year can be met.
By Dexter A. See