Batanes hospital can’t keep up with surge
ITBAYAT, BATANES — Health officials in Batanes have ordered the transfer of some COVID-19 patients needing critical care to Tuguegarao City on the Luzon mainland as the island province continued to experience a surge in virus infections.
Dr. Allan Sande, Batanes provincial health officer, said two patients, who were in critical condition, were taken to Cagayan Valley Medical Center for treatment this week.
He said nearly half of the staff of Batanes General Hospital (BGH) had already been infected with COVID-19. The 38-bed capacity BGH, the main COVID-19 facility in the province, has reached its maximum capacity, he said.
In a radio interview on Thursday, Sande said they had asked for an augmentation team of healthcare workers from nearby local governments as the number of active COVID-19 cases rose to 574 as of Wednesday.
Data from the local pandemic response task force showed that most of the latest infections were recorded in the capital town of Basco, which logged 379 active cases. The other towns with active infections are Ivana with 84, Sabtang (46), Mahatao (26), Uyugan (22) and Itbayat (17).
In Itbayat alone, 13 new infections were registered on Tuesday, with most of the patients front-liners who were exposed to infected patients.
The province recorded its third COVID-19 death on October 2 after a 56-year-old man from Basco succumbed to acute respiratory failure secondary to pneumonia. The first two fatalities, both men, age 77 and 88, were recorded in September.
Batanes was largely spared by the pandemic when it registered only four cases in 2020 and 14 infections in the early part of this year, all of whom had recovered.
The province as of Thursday recorded a total of 766 cases with 188 recoveries. Infections started to increase last month after the province was struck by Typhoon “Kiko” (international name: Chanthu) on September 11. —NATHAN ALCANTARA
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