COVID-19

Cagayan de Oro hospital suspends surgeries, reduces outpatient services due to COVID-19 surge

Herbie Gomez
Cagayan de Oro hospital suspends surgeries, reduces outpatient services due to COVID-19 surge
Northern Mindanao Medical Center chief Jose Chan says the new measures are in anticipation of a further increase in COVID-19 cases in Northern Mindanao, and a surge in admissions to the hospital

The state-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) suspended all elective surgical procedures on Saturday, May 22, a day after its chief placed the biggest government hospital in Cagayan de Oro under a Code Red status.

In Memorandum No. 007-2021, NMMC chief Jose Chan said only essential life-saving services such as hemodialysis and chemotherapy would continue so that the hospital could focus on the ballooning number of COVID-19 cases in the city and elsewhere in Northern Mindanao.

Chan also reduced NMMC’s outpatient services by half as Northern Mindanao’s primary COVID-19 referral hospital devoted 50% of its operations and resources to taking care of patients who contracted the deadly virus.

An entire floor in a newly constructed NMMC building was turned into a COVID-19 facility to make room for more patients. All training activities, except those related to emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, were also suspended.

Chan said the new measures were in anticipation of a further increase in COVID-19 cases in Northern Mindanao, and a surge in admissions to the NMMC.

A surge, he said, meant augmenting NMMC’s space, staff, supplies, and system capacity in the wake of the unprecedented increase in COVID-19 admissions in the city.

Gina Itchon, NMMC’s head for research, said the region’s COVID-19 data indicate a sustained upward trend in the coming days unless people cut down on non-essential travel, outdoor activities, and gatherings.

“We are appealing to people – please cooperate, observe the health protocols, and help the government and our frontline health workers. This will continue to increase until we help each other,” said Itchon.

The situation has gotten worse in recent weeks that officials of one of the worst-hit barangays in the city decided to try a new approach to help city hall bring down the number of cases. Their barangay, Bugo, registered 30 COVID-19 cases this May from zero in March.

Bugo is home to multinational food and beverage processor Del Monte Philippines.

By Monday, May 24, barangay workers would start issuing citation receipts to those who break the citywide 9 pm to 5 am curfew rule and violate public health protocols, said barangay chairman Vic Talingting Sr.

Talingting said: “There are just plenty of stubborn people out there who are not observing health rules. So we will be issuing OVRs (official violation receipts) and submit all these to city hall. Then, they will be made answerable to the city government. It’s up to city hall what to do with them. I am sorry, but this has to be done.” – Rappler.com