Cagayan de Oro City will have two new COVID-19 hospitals within 45 days to help the city’s health system cope with the surge in cases in the region.
The two hospitals eyed by the government’s coronavirus task force would be offsite and modular, and would ease the pressure on the state-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) and city hall-owned JR Borja Memorial General Hospital, said Ariel Hernandez, a senior adviser to vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.
The fully equipped modular hospitals would provide at least 200 beds more for people with COVID-19 who need hospital care.
Mayor Oscar Moreno welcomed the announcement of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), saying Cagayan de Oro’s hospitals were already “filled to the brim with COVID-19 patients” from the city and from other places in Northern Mindanao that have seen surges in new cases in recent weeks.
“These modular hospitals can ease the strain and relieve those confined in the temporary treatment monitoring facilities,” Moreno said.
Cagayan de Oro, the regional center of Northern Mindanao, has been overwhelmed by rising cases of COVID-19 throughout the region and the city itself. The region’s intensive care unit bed capacity has reached a critical level at 86.2% while the percentage of its hospital bed occupancy was categorized as high risk at 71.4% as of August 15, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed.
On Friday, August 20, the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 969 new COVID-19 cases in Northern Mindanao – one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 infections in the region recorded in a single day since 2020.
Bukidnon accounted for most of the new cases in the region at 427, followed by Misamis Oriental province that had 221, and Cagayan de Oro with 148.
Lanao del Norte logged 69 new cases while Misamis Occidental and Camiguin registered 66 and 7, respectively. Iligan City counted 31 cases on Friday.
Moreno said COVID-19 surges in other areas in Northern Mindanao meant an additional burden for Cagayan de Oro because many patients end up being brought to the city for hospitalization.
He said local officials have yet to discuss with the DOH and the IATF what they intend to do with another problem – where to find nurses and doctors for these additional facilities. – Rappler.com
Froilan Gallardo is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship