Calabarzon hospitals nearing full capacity
Health officials in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) have warned that their treatment centers in the region would hit full capacity in two weeks should the recent spike in new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection continues.
But instead of calling for a break and restrict economic activities anew, Cavite’s health officer said the province would rather have more isolation and monitoring units.
Nelson Soriano also welcomed any “reinforcement” of health-care workers from other regions as Cavite’s doctors and front-liners have been taking turns in reporting for 14-day hospital duty in coping with the rising number of patients.
Laguna’s health chief Rene Bagamasbad said among the problems of the province was the lack of quarantine centers, with the situation expected to get worse once the Department of Education (DepEd) starts recalling public schools repurposed into isolation hubs. Classes are set to resume on Aug 24.
As of Aug. 4, Calabarzon recorded 6,090 active COVID-19 cases, putting it next to Metro Manila, the outbreak’s epicenter. It had 539 new cases or just a little more than the 513 recorded in Central Visayas.
Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Bulacan in Central Luzon, and Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal in Calabarzon were placed on modified enhanced community quarantine for two weeks starting on Aug. 4 due to the surge in cases and following an appeal from the medical community.
The majority of the active cases in Calabarzon, or 90.3 percent, according to the Department of Health (DOH), are “mild” and thus placed in quarantine centers rather than having them admitted to hospitals treating patients with severe or critical conditions.
“Most [of the new cases] are those working in NCR but naturally admitted [to facilities] here where they are residents,” Soriano said.
In Cavite, 73 percent of its 916-bed capacity is occupied. The province has 32 community isolation units that are mostly hotels.
In the 35 hospitals, 73.02 percent of bed wards, 67.12 percent of isolation beds, and 80 percent of intensive care units are filled up, the DOH said.
“It’s the same situation as with other provinces and if the numbers don’t slow down, we’ll be full in two weeks,” Soriano said.
Schools as quarantines
DepEd regional director Wilfredo Cabral said the department granted the request of at least 29 local governments to extend the use of schools as quarantines until Aug.15.
Even without in-person classes, “the schools will be used as operation centers [to conduct distance learning],” Cabral said.
Quezon province has also reimposed strict border control to contain the spread of the virus after local authorities eased restrictions under the more relaxed modified general community quarantine.
In Central Luzon, police on Tuesday installed checkpoints in the boundaries between Bulacan and the cities of Caloocan, Valenzuela, and Malabon in Metro Manila, and the provinces of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.
Checkpoints were also placed in 13 entry and exit points along the North Luzon Expressway.
In Baguio City, public access to the City Hall was restricted to essential personnel after 16 new cases were recorded on Tuesday. —REPORTS FROM MARICAR CINCO, DELFIN MALLARI JR., CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE, TONETTE OREJAS, AND VINCENT CABREZA
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