Back to high risk status for Iloilo City as COVID-19 wards, ICUs at ‘critical’ level

Inday Espina-Varona
Back to high risk status for Iloilo City as COVID-19 wards, ICUs at ‘critical’ level

New Iloilo City isolation ward.

Iloilo City Facebook

Mayor Jerry Treñas says COVID-19 wards are 94% full and intensive care units 87% occupied in Iloilo City

Health care utilization in Iloilo City again reached the high-risk category with COVID-19 wards 94% full and intensive care units 87% occupied, Mayor Jerry Treñas said on Wednesday, September 1.

“Cases are rising and we are running out of COVID medicines like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab,” Treñas said in his daily evening update.

The city mayor made the announcement as the provincial health office announced that cases in the last 14 days increased by 74%, with an average of 300 new cases daily.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr on September 2 said district hospitals had prepared for the surge by increasing their COVID-19 beds from 50% to 70% of hospital capacity.

The province and metro saw case numbers dropping in July from a surge in June, only to have them jump again in August.

Defensor said the province’s efforts to fill up medical staff positions in Iloilo City tertiary hospitals is hobbled by a lack of takers.  The metro has the only hospitals on Panay island with intensive care units. Its high health care utilization rate comes from 70% of patients who are non-residents.

Defensor announced a hiring drive two weeks ago, eyeing 35 new staff. But on September 2, he said the province was processing the applications of only four health workers.

“It’s a dangerous job and nurses have better options,” Defensor said at a press briefing.

The use of the province’s sports complex as a step down center for patients in metro hospitals will ease congestion, Defensor said.

Treñas said LGUs are racing to save lives as the more transmissible Delta variant is now the dominant COVID-19 strain in the country.

“Treat all cases like Delta cases,” Treñas said, as he pushed for more patients to be isolated in barangay and city facilities.

Hoping to shorten the time between patient exposure, testing and contact-tracing, Treñas said all practicing doctors can now issue referral or request slips for patients who are COVID suspects and close contacts of confirmed cases to get RT-PCR tests at the City Molecular Laboratory.

For almost a week, the city has been logging in more than a hundred cases a day, with 126 recorded on September 1. Total confirmed cases as of August 28 reached 11,118 with 1,346 active cases and 278 deaths.

“Testing and contact tracing can identify and isolate immediately the index cases and those with exposure to slow down the spread of the virus,” the mayor said.

The Department of Health – Western Visayas office had earlier announced “high-risk” status for Bacolod City. Although the center of Negros Occidental has case numbers lower than most provinces and cities in Western Visayas, the DOH noted its increasing positivity and attack rates. –

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