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Northern Mindanao hospital runs out of COVID beds

NO DISTANCING People sit on a waiting area close to the main gate of the Northern Mindanao Medical Center along the Provincial Capitol Road in Cagayan de Oro City without observing health protocols. —JIGGER JERUSALEM / FILE PHOTO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Northern Mindanao’s main referral facility for patients of the new coronavirus disease has been filled to the brim as infections, particularly in the regional capital Cagayan de Oro City, continue to spike.

“The Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) operating capacity for COVID-19 has reached its maximum. Our emergency rooms and wards for COVID-19 patients are currently operating beyond its limit,” an advisory from the hospital said.

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The NMMC is the latest government-run hospital in the country overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, following similar situation faced by the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, the regional hospital for Davao region; the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City, Albay province; and those in the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod in Western Visayas.

Dr. Bernard Julius Rocha, NMMC liaison officer, said the 300-bed hospital had dedicated half its capacity for COVID-19 cases but, as of Thursday, the hospital catered to 177 COVID-19 patients, mostly from this city, while another 30 were still at the emergency room awaiting admission.

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Worrisome

The patient occupancy situation at NMMC has worried Mayor Oscar Moreno as the facility also caters to other areas of Northern Mindanao.

Despite being placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) by the national government from June 1 to 15, infections continue to surge in Cagayan de Oro.

From June 1 to 10, the city health office recorded 1,311 new infections or a daily average of 131. On June 6, the city recorded its highest single-day count of cases at 173.

Economic impact

This trend has worried business leaders, fearful that the national government might impose stricter quarantine that could pull down further the local economy.

On Friday, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) revised its earlier estimate of the economic impact of the MECQ in Cagayan de Oro, the region’s economic center.

From a previous estimate of P2.5-billion to P3-billion economic losses, Neda now said the local economy would lose between P3.5 billion to P4 billion, said Neda regional director Mylah Faye Cariño. —WITH REPORTS FROM RYAN D. ROSAURO INQ

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19 bed capacity, Northern Mindanao Medical Center
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