Ivatans turn to ‘bayanihan’ amid COVID-19 crisis
ITBAYAT, BATANES—While Batanes province has been experiencing shortage of food and medical supplies amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, Ivatans have resorted to “bayanihan” (community cooperation) by pooling their own resources to help health-care workers and quarantined residents.
Locals have been donating food and hygiene kits to quarantine and isolation facilities while an online group chat was created to seek aid for COVID-19 patients and front-line workers, according to Kristine Nico, a nurse at the rural health unit here.
Some families undergoing home quarantine received the donated hygiene kits and food supplies in front of their houses.
Nico said this northernmost town had logged seven COVID-19 cases so far but they were expecting the number to increase once contact tracing was finished.
She said 235 close contacts of the seven patients were being monitored and were asked to undergo home quarantine. Nine of these residents were already suspected carriers of the virus, she said.
At least 50 units of rapid antigen test kits and 400 doses of Sinovac vaccine were delivered to the town in time for a mass vaccination on Friday, Nico told the Inquirer.
In a statement on Thursday, Gov. Marilou Cayco said the province would hold a mass vaccination as soon as it received 6,000 doses of vaccine against COVID-19 from the national government.
As of Wednesday, the number of active cases in the province rose to 204 with the addition of 48 cases on the same day.
At least 147 of these were registered in the capital town of Basco. The other towns with active COVID-19 cases are Mahatao with 20, Uyugan with 18 and Ivana with 5.
The rise in cases was observed after the province recorded its first community transmission on Sept. 18 in the capital town of Basco where four residents tested positive for COVID-19, with the source of infection unknown.
Dr. Jeffrey Canceran, chief of Batanes General Hospital (BGH) in Basco, said they no longer had enough supply of medicines to treat COVID-19 patients. BGH is the only COVID-19 health facility in the Batanes.
In a radio interview on Wednesday, Canceran said 13 of the 24 beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients were already occupied.
He said the surge in the province could have been worsened by the impact of Typhoon “Kiko” (international name: Chanthu), which damaged quarantines and affected the supply of electricity and water during its onslaught on Sept. 11.
According to Canceran, some residents failed to observe minimum health protocols when fetching water after the typhoon.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.