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The city will be increasing the bed capacity of its existing isolation units to at least 1,000 in preparation for the possible surge in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases because of the emerging threat of the Delta variant.
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña stated that the local government will be utilizing the P20 million earlier earmarked for the put up of an isolation center to further increase the bed capacity of the Baguio City Community Isolation Unit based at the former Sto. Niño Hospital to make available sufficient isolation beds in case of surges in the future.
He disclosed that from the current 360 beds, the city plans to increase the capacity of the city’s isolation unit by an additional of at least 150 beds as there is a wing in the facility that is feasible for the expansion which could be done the soonest.
Aside from the city’s centralized isolation unit, the local government also maintains a 316-bed isolation facility inside the Baguio Teachers Camp, a 102-bed capacity isolation center for health workers at the Laurel dorm and a 10 bed capacity isolation unit for returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) at the Magsaysay Hall of the Baguio Teachers Camp.
Further, City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo revealed that the local government negotiated with the Cordillera office of the Office of Civil defense (OCD-CAR) the renewal of the use of the 60-bed Eurotel and the 14-bed Ferioni apartments as additional isolation centers for suspected and probable COVID-19 cases in the city.
At present, the total bed capacity of the existing isolation units in the city is 789 and that the occupancy rate of the said units is slightly more than 37 percent.
Further, the local government converted the community isolation unit into a step down facility to accommodate mild to moderate COVID patients to help decongest the local hospitals to avoid the health system from being compromised and the frontliners from being stressed.
The city administrator underscored that it will be better for the local government to be over acting in the strict implementation of community quarantine protocols because it is still best to prevent the unnecessary surges in the COVID-19 cases to prevent further problems that might complicate the situation in the city.
He claimed that the health department and the local government is strictly implementing facility-based isolation for confirmed COVID-19 cases, except for some 10 percent of the total number of cases in the city, to prevent the further spread of the deadly virus among the members of their families and their relatives to avoid future surges in cases that will greatly affect the state of the local health care system.
The local government remains aggressive in the conduct of testing of suspected and probable COVID-19 cases based on contact tracing, expanded testing and as a requisite for medical procedures to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of the prevent, detect, insolate, treat and reintegrate strategy to contain the rapid spread of the deadly virus. By Dexter A. See