Baguio gets P12 million for isolation facility

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The city’s isolation capacity continues to be enhanced following the commitment of Public Works Secretary Mark Villar for the allocation of some P10 million for the put up of additional isolation units to address the unpredictable increase in the number of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country.

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City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña relayed the good news from Secretary Villar, the country’s appointed isolation czar, to members of the city’s management committee and city councilors during separate meetings last Monday.

He added P8 million will be earmarked for the put up of the isolation structure while the P4 million will be used to procure the required equipment for the sustainable operation of the facility.

Based on the assessment of the City Health Services Office (CHSO), the city does not yet have enough available isolation beds pursuant to the standards of the health department which requires some 148 isolation beds for the city’s population.

However, the city has only 45 available isolation beds at the former Sto. Niño Hospital, way below the prescribed standards of the health department, thus, the need for the city to look for immediate solutions to address the backlog on the required number of isolation beds.

The city administrator claimed the city government plans to convert the Baguio Teachers Camp temporary quarantine facility for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) as part of the city’s isolation unit with its 130 beds that will allow the city to comply with the health standards, while working on the improvement of some floors of the former Sto. Niño Hospital to increase the number of isolation beds.

According to him, there are already 12 individuals, 8 suspected COVID-19 cases and 4 confirmed patients, that makes the facility in near critical situation, especially when the confined patients will increase to more than 20 anytime as the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in the city continue to rise.

He disclosed the city government will also coordinate with the Diocese of Baguio for the possible extension of the use of the Saint Vincent Gymnasium as a common triage center up to the middle of September while efforts are being done to complete the city’s common triage center within the Baguio Convention Center area.

Dela Peña stated it will take the city some 2 months to complete the required improvements of some floors of the former Sto. Niño Hospital thus the city will have to temporarily work on the accreditation of the Baguio Teachers Camp as part of the established quarantine and isolation center.

He emphasized that the funds coming from the national government is part of the efforts of concerned government agencies to extend the needed assistance to local governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19 cases in the different parts of the country.

By Dexter A. See

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