Cebu City hospital bans patients’ visitors, kin
CEBU CITY — At least 200 family members of patients at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) have camped out at the nearby park here after the hospital prohibited visitors from entering the facility to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Cebu City government allowed the VSMMC visitors, who used to sleep on the sidewalks in front of the hospital, to stay in the much “safer” Fuente Osmeña circle, where they were provided with makeshift tents since July 21.
According to Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, the city government is providing the relatives of patients three meals per day, water, and sleeping mats.
At least 196 of the campers, he said, were from different towns of Cebu province while 26 others were from Cebu City.
Majority of these individuals have relatives who gave birth at VSMMC. Only three have family members who contracted the COVID-19.
In a meeting with the city government on Thursday, VSMMC said they just could not allow anyone to go inside the hospital considering the prevalent community transmission in Cebu City.
VSMMC said all their hospital staff and patients have been subjected to swab tests.
The move to prohibit “watchers” from entering VSMMC was meant to protect the patients, hospital workers, and even the visitors from getting infected.
The VSMMC is a designated COVID-19 hospital.
Tumulak said they are trying to arrange with the hospital management to allow one person per patient.
The city government is also coordinating with the Cebu provincial government for assistance since most of the campers are their constituents. Excess watchers will be ferried back to the towns via government buses.
The 222 individuals at the Fuente Osmeña circle were sleeping under makeshift tents. Their beds were made of discarded cartons and plywood. Security guards were also deployed in the area to make sure they practice basic health measures like physical distancing and wearing masks.
The food packs provided by the city government included two viands, rice, and cold water. A private donor, however, distributed milk tea to the campers.
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