Vice mayor’s ordeal in landing hospital bed shows severity of COVID-19 surge in Davao City
KIDAPAWAN CITY—The ordeal of the vice mayor of Antipas town, Cotabato province provides a picture of how bad the COVID-19 situation is in some Mindanao areas, including Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown.
Antipas Vice Mayor Christobal Cadungon was first confined in a private hospital in this city on June 4 after he developed fever, which he said he initially thought was caused by the blisters that he found growing on his back, and he also suffered from diarrhea.
Cadungon is still on quarantine but recalled what he had to endure to get hospital admission, his story among many that would show how health systems are under unprecedented assault as a result of the pandemic.
Cadungon said he had himself tested for SARS Cov2, the virus that causes COVID-19, when he developed fever. The test result was negative but his condition worsened after two days and he started coughing.
When test results turned out positive on the third day of his confinement here, Cadungon asked to be brought to Davao City, expecting a better facility.
Only to discover that he had to endure staying inside a tent overnight just to line up for a COVID-19 ward, he told reporters in a phone patch here.
“It was very difficult inside the tent, especially because it was raining,” he said, adding that by then, his fever was almost 40 degrees Celsius and he had trouble breathing.
“There was no longer any available room even in a private hospital so, I did not have any choice but to stay overnight in the tent with other COVID-19 patients in the other tents,” said Cadungon.
He said even if one could afford to pay, there was no way to be confined comfortably because hospitals were running out of beds.
After a night in a tent, Cadungon was finally ushered into a COVID-19 ward the following day. But when he saw that he was mixed with other COVID-19 patients also awaiting treatment, he asked doctors to let him just go back to the tent.
But he was told he could not go back anymore because his former tent was already occupied by other COVID-19 patients waiting to get inside the hospital.
Cadungon was among eight mayors and three vice mayors in Cotabato province who contracted the COVID virus and were confined in different treatment facilities in Davao and Cotabato cities, according to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Since the past weeks, however, Davao City has been battling a surge of cases which threatens to overwhelm the capacity of its existing medical facilities.
In fact, ICU beds at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), the prime COVID-19 referral center in Davao City and the entire Mindanao, have been fully occupied in the past weeks until June 29, when at least three beds were vacated, according to the DOH report in the Davao Region.
Ali Abdullah, DILG provincial director, said aside from Cadungon of Antipas town, the vice mayors of Makilala, Matalam and the mayors of Makilala, Magpet, Tulunan, Banisilan, Alamada, Aleosan, Carmen and Arakan also got COVID-19.
He assured, however, that most of the officials local were already either recovering or had already returned to work.
“They are now in stable conditions while some of them have already returned to their respective work,” Abdullah told reporters.
Cadungon was already discharged from the hospital when he talked to the reporters by phone on Wednesday (June 30(. But he was still staying in an isolation facility in Davao City to complete his quarantine.
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