Exhaustion hits Zamboanga City health workers as COVID-19 cases soar
ZAMBOANGA CITY — The renewed surge of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases here has taken a toll on health workers and other front-liners, the city’s health chief said.
Dr. Dulce Miravite, city health officer, said the majority of the health care workers and security personnel enforcing quarantine rules are stressed, especially with the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and number of individuals suspected of having the disease.
“We are still dedicated and committed to do our work, but we cannot discount that in four, five months of responding to this pandemic, it is already taking a toll on our health care workers and other front-liners,” said Miravite.
“They are exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally,” she added.
From July 1 to August 5, local virus transmission has pushed the city’s tally of cases to 675, more than three times the count on June 30 of 217. This means an average of 13 new cases every day.
Of 675 cases, 301 are active, and 22 patients have died. More than a dozen of those infected are health workers, although most of them have recovered.
Miravite assured that they are not yet at the point of asking for a timeout and substitution, like peers in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces.
Miravite, however, appealed to the public to strictly observe the minimum health standards set by authorities in order to stem the further increase of cases.
Virus infections have been recorded in 35 of the city’s 98 villages, mostly in densely populated neighborhoods.
Recently, more infections are also recorded in offices.
COVID strikes troops, anti-drug agents, cops
Major Arvin John Encinas, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, told the Inquirer that a total of 18 military personnel, including a ranking officer are down with SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Encinas said the Naval Forces Western Mindanao is currently on a lockdown as 14 of its personnel, including an officer, has contracted the virus.
Four of the personnel are confined in a private hospital while those who showed no symptom of the disease are isolated inside the Navy headquarters.
Agents and an officer of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Western Mindanao office in Calarian village, numbering 11 in all, were also infected with COVID-19.
Darmalyn Jumlail, spokesperson of the agency, said they have to put their office on 21-day lockdown for disinfection and decontamination, forcing other personnel to work from home.
“We are still unaware how and where our agents got the disease,” Jumlail said.
Calarian village is among the seven villages in the city tagged by local health authorities as virus hotspots.
Jumlail assures that PDEA’s operations against illicit drugs continue unhampered even as their regional headquarters is on lockdown.
Captain Yashier Sarikin, spokesperson of the Zamboanga City Police Office, confirmed that two police stations in the city are on a lockdown as five officers, a civilian employee and three detainees were tested positive for the virus.
Sarikin said that in the police station of Tetuan village, an infected detainee passed the virus to two other detainees, four police officers and a non-uniformed personnel.
One police officer in the Sta. Maria station was also tested positive for SARS-CoV2.
Dr. Justin Elfred Paber, spokesperson of the Zamboanga City Medical Center, said 16 of their staff were down with COVID-19. They are nurses, nurse attendants and physical therapists.
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