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The city continues to increase the capacity of its quarantine and isolation facilities with the ongoing improvement of the central isolation unit at the former Sto. Niño Hospital and the engagement of private accommodation facilities to prepare for the surge in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases not only in the city but also in the neighboring municipalities of Benguet.
City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said that the capacity of the city’s central isolation unit was increased from the previous 95 to 205 aside from the combined 228-bed capacity of the Roxas Hall, Hernandez Hall and Superintendent’s Quarters at the Baguio Teachers Camp.
Further, the additional quarantine and isolation facilities of the city include the 80-bed V Dorm I, the 50-bed V Dorm II and the 30-bed Ferioni apartments, all located along Teodoro Alonzo Street.
On his part, City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña disclosed the city is aiming to increase the bed capacity of the central isolation unit from its current 205 to 300, to as much as 400, by the middle of this month although the contractor has until the middle of December to complete the rehabilitation and improvement of the facility.
He stated the city is closely monitoring the ongoing rehabilitation and improvement works in the centralized isolation unit to make available isolation beds once there will be another surge in COVID cases, not only in the city, but also in the neighboring towns of La Trinidad, Itogon, Tuba, Sablan and Tublay.
Earlier, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong allowed the use of the city’s available isolation and quarantine facilities for COVID cases from Benguet following reports that the province’s existing quarantine and isolation units are already fully loaded because of the outbreak of COVID cases in Itogon and Tuba over the past several weeks.
Aside from this, he also sourced out the test kits used in the mass testing in several towns in Benguet over the past several weeks to help increase the number of tests conducted to ascertain the percentage of the population infected with the deadly virus and for adopting appropriate prevention strategies to prevent the further spread of the same in the various localities around the city.
At present, the city performed more than 62,000 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and newly 7,000 antigen tests over the past several months, representing more than 18 percent of the city’s population that had been tested.
According to him, the need now us for the neighboring towns of Benguet to continue increasing their testing capacity to prevent the further spread of the deadly virus in their respective areas of jurisdiction that have the possibility of spilling over in the city, thus creating more problems for the concerned local governments in the future.
The series of mass testing in the city and neighboring towns over the past several months was sponsored by the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) through its president Vince Dizon, the designated testing czar. By Dexter A. See