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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The provincial government wants the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases to temporarily suspend the conduct of mass testing in some municipalities identified as high risk areas because their existing temporary quarantine and isolation facilities are already compromised following the surge in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
Gov. Melchor D. Diclas admitted that the province’s hospitals and quarantine and isolation facilities are already almost full because of the increasing number of positive and symptomatic patients, thus, the need to locate more quarantine facilities to accommodate the huge number of daily cases being reported, especially from the mining communities.
At present, the Benguet General Hospital (BeGH) accommodates most of the confirmed COVID patients and as of date, the hospital is continuously releasing recovered patients and subsequently admitting symptomatic individuals from the different parts of the province.
Aside from the BeGH, the 5 district hospitals, Atok District Hospital in Paoay, Atok; Kapangan District Hospital in Kapangan; Itogon District Hospital in Itogon; Northern Benguet District Hospital in Buguias and Dennis Molintas Memorial Hospital in Bokod, have been allowed by the provincial inter-agency task force to admit symptomatic patients to help in preventing the existing health care facilities from being compromised.
According to him, the mass testing in the province’s high-risk areas will be useless if there will be no additional quarantine and isolation facilities that can immediately accommodate the confirmed cases.
The governor disclosed that health workers are now working double time for the completion of the necessary documents for the accreditation of the proposed additional quarantine and isolation facilities so that there will be available beds for confirmed cases as a result of the ongoing mass testing.
He stated there are ongoing talks with the officials of the public works department for the putting up of additional collapsible isolation rooms that can be erected within the BeGH compound as part of the efforts to increase the available isolation beds for confirmed cases.
Earlier, Itogon and Tuba towns had been included as among the identified COVID high risk areas in the country following the recent surge in the number of COVID cases from the three mining camps within their areas of jurisdiction over the past two weeks.
Moreover, the provincial government is also negotiating with owners of some private education institutions for the temporary use of their existing dormitories as additional quarantine and isolation facilities for the quarantine and isolation requirements of future cases and their close contacts while face-to-face classes are not yet allowed to abate the overcrowding in the existing health facilities.
Diclas stated that once the province’s health facilities will be compromised, it will be a serious problem on how to handle the confirmed COVID cases that will be discovered in the future whether or not the same will be the result of mass testing. By HENT