Davao City seeks stricter curbs as COVID-19 cases surge | Inquirer News
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Davao City seeks stricter curbs as COVID-19 cases surge

‘Circuit breaker’ needed as COVID patients swarm hospitals

TREATMENT CENTER A man rests outside Southern Philippines Medical Center, the main COVID-19 referral hospital in the Davao Region. —KARLOS MANLUPIG

DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — The city government has appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to declare the city under a stricter quarantine status so it could deal with the surge of COVID-19 cases here.

In an announcement posted on its social media page on Wednesday, the city asked for the declaration of a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from June 5 to June 30 to serve as “a circuit breaker in the surge of patients inside hospitals.”

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It also advised residents and businesses to review the guidelines for the new classification while waiting for the approval of its appeal.

Like a mall sale

Davao City is under a general community quarantine (GCQ) status despite a spike in new COVID-19 cases, which on Tuesday, registered an all time high of 338 cases in a day, according to data from the Department of Health (DOH).

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The surge has affected the capacity of the health-care system in the city, including the availability of hospital and quarantine beds.

Dr. Ricardo Audan, Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) acting chief, on Monday compared the atmosphere at the hospital’s emergency section to a “midnight sale” at the mall because of the number of people swarming the section.

“Sobrang masikip (It’s too crammed),” Audan said, adding that the hospital already converted part of its outpatient department into an emergency section extension to deal with the problem.

Health-care workers are also suffering from fatigue as the demand for health services in both public and private hospitals continue to grow.

Total COVID-19 cases in the city reached 17,337 on Tuesday, with 1,912 classified as active, the DOH said. Five persons died of COVID-related complications on Tuesday, raising the total death toll here to 760.

On Tuesday, three more call centers were placed on lockdown as infection spread in these workplaces. This brought to five the number of Business Process Outsourcing firms that have been put on lockdown.

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, in charge of the City Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, said the length of the lockdown would depend on the evaluation of health experts.

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In just a week between May 23 and May 29, eight call centers in the city reportedly yielded 142 positive cases among their workers, contributing to the local surge.

The city government earlier placed the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council) building on lockdown after 10 of its 327 employees tested positive for COVID-19, Mayor Sara Duterte said on Monday.

Cagayan de Oro status

In Cagayan de Oro City, Mayor Oscar Moreno said he would not object to the new classification released by the IATF which placed his city under MECQ.“I didn’t ask for it (MECQ), but I will not object to it,” said Moreno, who earlier wrote to the IATF to place Cagayan de Oro under GCQ because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases there.

“Even if I wanted to object, I hesitate to do so because our cases have been increasing,” he added.

This developed as Northern Mindanao Medical Center, the region’s main COVID-19 referral hospital, declared itself under “code red” as it was now using up to 50 percent of its facilities and services for COVID-19 cases. As of June 1, Cagayan de Oro posted 1,272 active cases, with 328 deaths.

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TAGS: COVID-19 pandemic, Davao City COVID-19 cases, IAFTF
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