COVID-19

Iloilo province to open critical care unit; senior citizens make up bulk of COVID-19 cases

Rappler
Iloilo province to open critical care unit; senior citizens make up bulk of COVID-19 cases

SAFETY SEAL. This photo shows health safeguards at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol, which has passed the Department of Interior and Local Government requirements for a safety seal.

Iloilo province

The office of Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. is temporarily closed on Thursday, August 12, to give way for disinfection after a personnel tested positive for the virus

Iloilo province will open a new critical care unit for COVID-19 patients this August, easing the pressure on Iloilo City’s tertiary health facilities as cases continue to surge on Panay island.

The province’s Hospital Management Office (HMO) told Rappler that  essential equipment like high flow oxygen machines will soon arrive at the Iloilo Provincial Hospital, a Level 1 health facility.

Health officials are also hiring additional personnel for the unit, which will be able to handle serious COVID-19 cases. 

Patients with severe symptoms will still need admission to a Level 3 hospital in Iloilo City, which is now under general community quarantine because of high occupancy rates in its intensive care units (ICU). 

Iloilo province on Wednesday, August 11, said new COVID-19 cases continue to rise to 209 from 156 on Tuesday, August 10, 67 on Monday, August 9, and 155 on Sunday, August 8.

Provincial Administrator Suzettea Mamon said the province’s daily new case average for the first 10 days of August is 220, compared to the 109 daily average in July.

The office of Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. temporarily closed on Thursday, August 12, to give way for disinfection after a personnel tested positive for the virus. All official tasks have been moved to the Office of the Provincial Administrator.

Mamon on Thursday said that 51% of cases in the province are senior citizens, a vulnerable group with other preexisting conditions that infection could worsen. She did not give additional details.

Safety seal

The infection of Defensor’s staff comes right after the provincial capitol passed the remote safety seal pre-inspection conducted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial inspection team on Tuesday.

The safety seal is granted to establishments that are compliant to minimum public health standards and the use of the StaySafe.ph application to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

DILG officials were scheduled to visit the Capitol on Friday, August 13, to award the safety seal.

Explaining why the province remains under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) despite its high case rate, Mamon pointed to the province’s 53.79% hospitalization care utilization, which is considered as low to moderate risk by the Department of Health.

The HMO said there are 460 beds available for COVID-19 patients in provincial and district hospitals.

All of the province’s 13 hospitals have already allocated 50% to 70% of their authorized bed capacity for COVID-19 patients. Four have dedicated more than 70% of their bed capacity for patients ill of the virus.

Iloilo City, the center of commerce and governance in Western Visayas, said 70% of patients in its hospitals come from Iloilo province and Aklan, which is also under MECQ.

The provincial hospital is preparing for its 2022 upgrade to Level 2 by constructing the province’s first intensive care unit and a Level 3 hospital laboratory. – Inday Espina-Varona/Rappler.com