Baguio health care utilization up to critical level

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The city’s health care utilization is now in the critical level following the recent surges in the number of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases over the past several weeks.

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo stated that of the 285 total beds allocated in the different private and public health facilities in the city, 246 are already occupied, and only 37 beds are available, represent 86.62 percent occupancy rate.

For isolation beds in the said health facilities, 122 are occupied while 20 remain available that account for 85.92 percent occupancy.

She added that the occupancy of intensive care unit (ICU) beds is 81.58 percent after 31 beds have already been occupied while there are only 7 beds that are ready for occupancy.

In terms of mechanical ventilators, the city health officer reported that 26 ventilators are already occupied with only 3 ventilators available in the different private and public hospitals which represent 89.65 percent occupancy of the same.

However, Galpo reported that the occupancy rate in the different isolation centers in the city is 51.42 percent after a total of 378 beds have been occupied, 292 are ready for occupancy while 66 beds are said to be unavailable.

According to her, the total bed capacity of the different isolation centers in the city is 737.

The existing isolation centers in the city include the central isolation unit with a capacity of 310 beds, Roxas Hall of the Baguio Teachers Camp – 316 beds, Laurel 2 Dorm for health workers – 101 beds and Magsaysay Hall quarantine facility – 10 beds.

On the other hand, she disclosed that there are already 194 beds at the city’s central isolation unit located at the former Sto. Niño Hospital that are already occupied, 141 beds at the Magsaysay Hall are also filled up, 40 beds at the Laurel Dorm are filled while 4 beds at the Magsaysay Hall are occupied by confirmed cases.

The medical officer pointed out that private hospitals in the city can no longer expand their bed capacity to 30 percent as mandated by the health department because of reported financial constraints that could lead to their closure if strictly imposed.

However, she admitted that the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) can still accommodate additional admissions, thus, the city government needs to pursue the upgrading and equipping of the city’s central isolation unit at the former Sto. Niño Hospital as a step-down facility to accommodate mild to moderate cases and as a centralized dialysis facility for COVID patients.

As of April 5, 2021, the city performed some 147,515 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests in the city.

Galpo noted that the city’s average daily attack rate in the recent 2 weeks from March 19 to April 2, 2021 was pegged at 15.4 percent while there was a growth change over the past 2 weeks of 11.09 percent.

She stipulated that the city will continue to pursue aggressive testing and contact tracing to ascertain the percentage of the population infected with the deadly virus to isolate them.

By Dexter A. See

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