Cagayan De Oro City

Cagayan de Oro mayor worries MECQ could result in COVID-19 spike

Froilan Gallardo
Cagayan de Oro mayor worries MECQ could result in COVID-19 spike

CHECKING CAPACITY. A highway patrol police officer manually counts the number of passengers inside a jeepney at the border checkpoint between Cagayan de Oro and Opol town, Misamis Oriental on Saturday, July 17, 2021.

Froilan Gallardo/Rappler

Health officials say Cagayan de Oro's hospitals, especially the state-run Northern Mindanao Regional Center, are already full to the brim

City government officials eased quarantine measures in Cagayan de Oro on Monday, August 16, even as its hospitals still grappled with a surge in new COVID-19 cases.

President Rodrigo Duterte downgraded the quarantine status of Cagayan de Oro to the more relaxed modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until the end of the month, ending 31 days of strict ECQ measures.

Mayor Oscar Moreno warned that the downgrade could result in the city seeing more COVID-19 infections in the coming days.

“I hope this will not be a license for the Cagayan de Oro residents to go out and party. The virus is still out there,” Moreno said.

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A Department of Health (DOH) medical briefer said 245 new COVID-19 infections and seven deaths were recorded in Cagayan de Oro as of Sunday, August 15.

Health officials said Cagayan de Oro’s hospitals, especially the state-run Northern Mindanao Regional Center (NMMC), were already full to the brim.

The NMMC serves as Northern Mindanao’s leading referral center for COVID-19 cases.

DOH-Region 10 assistant director Dr. David Mendoza said NMMC and the rest of Cagayan de Oro’s hospitals would remain on “red alert” because of how the increasing COVID-19 cases have overstretched their capacities.

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“COVID-19 cases are on the rise in neighboring provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, and most of their serious cases are sent here, straining the hospitals,” Mendoza said during a press briefing.

The DOH’s August 15 briefer showed that 242 COVID-19 cases were logged in Bukidnon while 72 cases were detected in Misamis Oriental in a single day.

NMMC spokesperson Dr. Bernard Julius Rocha said a number of patients were still waiting to be admitted, and had to queue at the government hospital’s emergency area.

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 Six floors of a major NMMC building were already fully occupied by COVID-19 patients who required hospital care.

Rocha told a DOH online briefing: “If your patient with COVID-19 will come here at NMMC, we cannot guarantee that a room or a bed will be available.”

The Cagayan de Oro-based Mindanao Gold Star Daily reported that private hospitals in Cagayan de Oro were also full, and some have even posted public notices like “No more bed vacancies” at their gates. – Rappler.com

Froilan Gallardo is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.