SAGADA, Mountain Province – Municipal officials are alarmed over the sudden surge in the number of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the municipality that might overwhelm the local health care system and stress the frontliners.
Mayor James Pooten II stated that the COVID situation in the municipality is now a cause of concern among municipal officials and health workers because of the increasing number of confirmed cases daily due to the influx of locally stranded individuals (LSIs), among other related issues and concerns.
He claimed that under existing guidelines crafted by the municipal inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases, asymptomatic patients are required to undergo home quarantine, those with mild and moderate symptoms are confined in a private hospital while those with severe symptoms are referred to other hospitals in the province, particularly the Bauko-based Luis Hora Regional Memorial Hospital.
The local chief admitted that the town’s 70-bed temporary treatment and monitoring facility is nearing full capacity although there are still available beds as discharges are done from the facility.
According to him, one of the problem of the municipal officials and health workers is how to deal with the situation in a barangay where there is a religious sect that does not believe in the existence of COVID and the members refuse to subject themselves to the required swab test and contact tracing for possible contacts with confirmed cases in their place.
Mayor Pooten claimed the municipal government was compelled to lockdown barangay Balugan because of the aforesaid reason as cases there continuously increased creating the spike in cases in the municipality over the past several days.
He expressed the local government’s gratitude to the Cordillera office of the health department for sending a 6-member contact tracing team in the municipality to help existing contact tracers in the conduct of contact tracing of confirmed cases so that appropriate interventions could already be enforced to avoid the rapid spread of the virus in the locality.
At present, Sagada has more than 100 active COVID cases although there are recoveries that are being reported based on the swab specimens submitted for testing in the various molecular laboratories.
Pooten reported that the municipality submitted for testing some 400 specimens to the different molecular laboratories in Mountain Province and Baguio City and that municipal officials are eagerly awaiting the results of the same as the outcome might have an impact on the existing local health care system and the frontliners.
Pooten asserted that municipal officials and health workers are doing their best to contain the rapid surge in the number of COVID cases to ensure that the situation is properly managed to avoid the situation from going out of control beyond the capacity of the local health care system and the frontliners working hard to sustain the gains to contain the spread of the deadly virus. By HENT