Occupancy rates in Iloilo City, Bacolod City and Negros Occidental hospitals have reached critical levels again after weeks of steady increases in COVID-19 cases.
Intensive care units bed are 95% occupied in Iloilo City, Western Visayas’ center of commerce and governance, Mayor Jerry Trenas said.
COVID-19 wards are also 87.50% occupied while isolation beds in city facilities have 72.21% occupancy rates.
The city’s new case numbers have remained above 100 daily for the last two weeks, hitting 150 in the last week. It breached the 2,000 mark for active cases on September 7.
In Bacolod City, the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital limited non-COVID-19 admissions to only “extreme emergency cases.”
A September 6 notice by hospital management said COVID-19 wards and critical care units had reached maximum capacity.
The provincial administrator of Negros Occidental said the Valladolid district hospital was full while the Cadiz City hospital was at 80% capacity.
“Our hospitals are getting full and cases continue to rise,” Bacolod City Administrator Em Ang told Rappler on Wednesday, September 8.
“By tomorrow, we could see our new cases in triple digits,” she said.
While the city managed to lower cases in July and early August by bringing all positive cases to facilities, the new rise in cases has brought resistance.
“Too many refuse to cooperate,” Ang said. “Many refuse to be swabbed, many do not truthfully declare close contacts to avoid quarantine. And even when they test positive, they resist going to isolation centers.”
There are no immediate legal punitive measures against these people, Ang pointed out.
“We can only file a blotter and endorse it to the City Legal Office for appropriate action.”
But, she warned, that people who refused isolation were endangering their families, neighbors and work colleagues.
The city emergency operations center also reported the death of a symptomatic pregnant woman and her baby after she waited for more than a week to seek help.
New cases in Iloilo and Negros Occidental provincial capitols hint at the fast spread of COVID-19, which both national and local governments attribute to the more transmissible Delta variant.
In Iloilo province the number of infected staff hit 26 on September 8 from 15 the day before.
The number of infected personnel in the Negros Occidental capitol also grew to seven on Sept. 7, from two the day before.
Unlike Iloilo province, which shut down down the capitol from September 6 to September 8, the Negros Occidental provincial government said there would be no halt in services as most close contacts of those infected have tested negative.
Iloilo has placed more than 30 areas under granular lockdown, drastically limiting movements to stem outbreaks of new infections.
The Iloilo City council on Tuesday, September 7, approved Trenas’ request to lower the cost of Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests from P2,500 to P1,800.
While the city will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine until the end of the month, business sectors want a continuous schedule of COVID-19 tests to prevent any new infection clusters.
The city now allows all doctors, in government and private practice, to refer symptomatic patients for free RT-PCR tests. The same service also covers returning residents and returning overseas Filipinos. – Rappler.com