Probe on cause of rising Baguio COVID-related deaths sought

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The increasing number of deaths related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) prompted city officials and health authorities to seek an investigation to determine the reason behind the rising number of fatalities among patients.

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong tasked City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo to call for a meeting among health experts and chiefs of hospitals to ascertain the reason behind the rising COVID-related deaths to guide them in the formulation of the appropriate strategies to address the said concern.

He said that the more than 40 percent increase in the number of COVID-related deaths in less than one month is really alarming and it is important for health authorities to identify the cause and come out with the appropriate strategy to address the said concern.

From the 48 reported deaths in the city as of December 14, 2020, the number of COVID-related deaths increased to 71 as of January 5, 2021 based on the data from the City Health Services Office.

For her part, Galpo said that those who died and tested positive for the deadly virus have been declared dead on arrival in the different hospitals while some of them have been brought to the health facilities already in critical situation and reportedly died several days after being confined.

She added that most of the COVID-related deaths have underlying conditions and co-morbidities such as hypertension and diabetes, and almost all of them belong to the elderly age bracket.

According to her, the prevailing community quarantine guidelines prohibit the elderly aged 65 and above and those with co-morbidities from staying out of their homes to prevent them from being exposed to the elements and eventually contracting and transmitting the virus.

Galpo assured the city chief executive there will be a meeting at the earliest possible time with concerned stakeholders to discuss the appropriate strategies to be adopted to help reduce the number of COVID-related deaths as the same has really raised concern among their ranks and the public.

The medical officer urged the elderly, especially those with co-morbidities and other underlying conditions, to abide by the prevailing community quarantine guidelines by staying at home to prevent them from possibly contracting the virus which might compromise their existing health condition and cause their untimely demise.

She pointed out that the strict implementation of the basic health and safety protocols is for the safety of everyone thus city officials and health authorities are aggressively issuing constant reminders for the people to comply with the same, particularly the mandatory wearing of face masks and shields, the observance of physical distancing and the practice of personal hygiene, which are the best weapons against contracting the virus while awaiting the availability of the vaccine which is expected to be in the country by the third or fourth quarter of this year.

By Dexter A. See