Cordillera hospitals readied for virus surge
BAGUIO CITY—Health authorities in Cordillera have started preparing hospitals and other COVID-19 facilities in the region as rising infections continue to plague three provinces that were placed under a stricter alert status for two weeks.
Mountain Province, Kalinga and Ifugao were placed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases under alert level 4 from Jan. 21 to Jan. 31 due to their surge in virus cases and to allow local governments to manage their health-care facilities. Alert level 4 is the second most stringent status in the five-tier alert level system in the country.
Dr. Annie Claire Pekas, health officer II of Mountain Province, said personnel of the Bontoc General Hospital (BoGH) held an emergency meeting on Friday to prepare the hospital amid the influx of virus-infected patients.
As of Friday, 96.67 percent of BoGH’s COVID-19 beds were occupied while another of the five hospitals in Mountain Province was operating at full capacity, as active cases in the province rose to 542. Overall, the province’s hospital care utilization rate (HCUR) was at 81.41 percent, local health data showed.
In Kalinga, 1,069 cases were recorded on Thursday. The province’s HCUR was at 92 percent, with three of its five hospitals at full capacity.
Ifugao has an HCUR of 60.87 percent for its two key hospitals, which were treating 513 active patients.
Prohibited under alert level 4 are in-person classes and gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household, among others. Intrazonal and interzonal travel are allowed under alert level 4 except for those younger than 18 years old and and those belonging to the vulnerable population, including residents who are 65 years old and older, those with comorbidities and other health risks, and pregnant women.
Cordillera’s overall COVID-19 bed occupancy rate was classified as moderate risk for COVID-19 as of Thursday as its active cases reached 8,914, according to the Department of Health.Half of these cases or at least 4, 125 were recorded in Baguio City, which remains under alert level 3 with its HCUR still hovering at 69.3 percent.
Baguio had also registered two cases of the more transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19, which were the only known cases of the virus strain in Cordillera so far.
Still under alert level 3 are the provinces of Benguet (1,991 active cases and 54.9-percent HCUR), Abra (224 active cases and 42.42-percent HCUR) and Apayao (303 active cases and 79.07-percent HCUR). —VINCENT CABREZA
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