Ilocos Norte hospital, doctors’ group seek ‘timeout’ amid virus surge
LAOAG CITY — Health workers in Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center (MMMH&MC) and the Ilocos Norte Medical Society (INMS) have appealed for a “timeout” as the province’s health-care system is being feared to collapse amid the surge of COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Luis Jake Rubio, former president and ex-officio member of INMS, told the Inquirer in an interview on Wednesday (July 21) that the doctors’ group is now crying for stricter quarantine curbs as many health workers are already “exhausted.”
The call came at a time when Ilocos Norte on Tuesday recorded at least 283 new COVID-19 cases, its highest single-day tally since the pandemic began in March last year.
During a consultation meeting between the INMS and Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc on Monday, the group recommended that the entire province of Ilocos Norte be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), the second most stringent quarantine classification in the country, Rubio said.
At least 12 areas in the province, which are considered as “high-risk” areas of COVID-19 infections by the Department of Health (DOH), were recommended to be placed under ECQ, the most stringent quarantine classification, according to Rubio.
On Tuesday, Manotoc released an executive order which established “additional health protocols to contain the spread of the virus” while waiting for the decision of the national COVID-19 task force on its appeal to place Ilocos Norte under GCQ, the second least constrictive quarantine.
Rubio said health workers in the province understand the need to “balance health and economy” but it is also important to decongest the healthcare system during this time, or else it will collapse.
Across Ilocos Norte hospitals, there has been a “scarcity” of health workers and medicines and equipment used to treat COVID-19 patients, he added.
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