Nurses from Cebu, more vaccines aim to boost Dumaguete’s COVID-19 fight

Robbin M. Dagle
Nurses from Cebu, more vaccines aim to boost Dumaguete’s COVID-19 fight


The national government sends 10,000 vials of Sinovac's vaccine 'for Dumaguete City residents' on June 4

Additional nurses from Cebu and 10,000 vials of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine have been deployed to Dumaguete City in an effort to contain the ongoing coronavirus surge here.

Dumaguete, Negros Oriental’s capital and largest city, is epicenter of an ongoing surge with 416 active cases, according to the provincial government’s June 4 tally. Negros Oriental is still the province with the most number of active COVID cases in Central Visayas at 1,819, based on the Department of Health regional office’s (DOH-7) June 4 report

Silliman University Medical Center (SUMC) announced on its Facebook page on June 4 that nurses from Cebu City were deployed by DOH-7 “to help the hospital cope with the rising number of COVID patients.” The nurses will be on duty from June 4 to June 30.

In a press briefing on Friday, provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) ground commander Dr. Lilland Estacion said that other hospitals in Dumaguete City have also requested for additional nurses. 

Nurses and doctors from Cebu were also sent to Metro Manila and surrounding provinces last April at the height of the surge there. Cebu City, which had its own surge earlier this year, now only has around 500 active cases, down from a peak of over 2,300 active cases in February. 

In late May, Estacion said some healthcare workers were thinking of resigning due to the city’s “overwhelming” number of COVID patients

Medical societies in Negros Oriental had also pleaded the provincial IATF for two to three weeks of enhanced community quarantine in the province to prevent the collapse of the healthcare system. DOH-7, however, rejected the proposal, proposing instead strategies that would increase testing, manpower, and healthcare facilities, according to Estacion.

Meanwhile, 10,000 doses worth of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine “for Dumaguete City residents” arrived on June 4, “less than 24 hours” after Mayor Felipe Remollo reportedly “made an urgent and direct appeal to the national government for more vaccines,” according to a Facebook post from the city’s Public Information Office.

“Mayor Remollo made the direct appeal to the national government considering the rising cases of COVID-19 and the daily influx of residents from other cities and municipalities to Dumaguete City by reason of work and essential services,” the post read.

The vaccines will be allocated for the first and second doses of 5,000 residents, mostly senior citizens under the A2 priority category.

As of June 3, the city reported 591 healthcare workers under the A1 priority group had received one shot and 355 had received two doses. 737 of the city’s 23,000 senior citizens have been vaccinated, but the city gave no breakdown of those who received one or two doses. Dumaguete began vaccinating seniors on May 20.

The post mentioned that “prior to the arrival of vaccines from the national government,” the Dumaguete City Health Office received “956 vials of vaccines from the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in 10 batches” since March 22.

In a press briefing on Friday afternoon, Estacion said she was only informed of the shipment by a “private citizen” who is close (suod) to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. At the time of the briefing, Estacion was not sure whether the vaccines will be allocated for the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital in Dumaguete City or for Dumaguete City only. 

Asked by a reporter if a “special vaccine allocation” for Dumaguete City might set a precedent of LGUs directly requesting from the national government, Estacion answered in the affirmative.

“Yes ‘no, that’s the reason why niingon ko na not only Dumaguete City, it should be the whole province-wide because people now here makita man nato nga tanan na atong lungsod dinhi naapektuhan especially the Metro Dumaguete. So I hope na, kaning atong [Facebook] Live karon, maabot pud ni sa atong NVOC [National Vaccination Operations Center] na Negros Oriental is not Dumaguete,” Estacion said.

(Yes, that’s the reason why I said that not only Dumaguete City, it should be the whole province-wide because people now here, we see that all of our cities and towns here are affected especially Metro Dumaguete. So I hope that this [Facebook] Live right now will reach our NVOC [National Vaccination Operations Center] that Negros Oriental is not Dumaguete.)

As of June 4, Estacion reported 17,891 people have received at least one dose in Negros Oriental, or about 1.32% of its total population.

She said Governor Roel Degamo had already requested additional vaccines for the province through DOH-7, as only stocks for the second dose are left. –