ILOILO CITY, Philippines – Hospitals in Iloilo province are ready to admit more severe and critical COVID-19 patients, Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said on Thursday, January 13.
In his weekly press conference, Defensor said Executive Order (EO) No. 325, issued in 2021, increased COVID-19 bed capacities and established COVID-19 critical care units in provincial government hospitals.
It also mandated providing step-down facilities for provincial patients.
“We continue to monitor the situation. We have been preparing for any surge in terms of logistics, in terms of our healthcare system, and the things that we did and the things that we needed during the last [COVID-19] surge,” the governor said in his press conference.
Data from the Iloilo Provincial Health Office as of noon on Wednesday, January 12, showed that the province had a total of 35,503 coronavirus cases, with 720 of these active, 33,689 recovered, and 1,094 dead.
The province will remain under Alert Level 2 from January 14 to 31, according to Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles.
Defensor said the province in December 2021 already expected a surge so it prepared to ensure supply of medicines and improved isolation and treatment facilities.
“Our hospitals are always ready to adjust in terms of personnel and needed medicines,” he said.
Despite the province’s readiness, Defensor said authorities need to issue more regulations to keep teachers and students in limited face-to-face classes safe.
EO 646, which implements Iloilo province’s Alert Level 2 status, allows for limited face-to-face classes subject to prior approval of the Office of the President.
“Our protocols in our [EO 646] and the [national government’s coronavirus task force] guidelines may be used to implement limited face-to-face classes, but of course that shouldn’t be [applied] to the whole province. There should be areas for pilot [classes] where we will choose,” the governor said. – Rappler.com
Joseph B.A. Marzan is a Visayas-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.