Davao’s top COVID-19 hospital suspends major services as patients increase

Grace Cantal-Albasin
Davao’s top COVID-19 hospital suspends major services as patients increase

JAB. A health worker administers a vaccine to a Davao City resident.

Davao City government's Facebook page

The Southern Philippines Medical Center's intensive care unit beds are 75% occupied, and its ward beds utilization rate has reached 81.09%

BUKIDNON, Philippines – Davao region’s top COVID-19 hospital on Monday, January 17, suspended its inpatient and outpatient services and admission of cases with non-life threatening ailments in the wake of the increasing coronavirus infections in the city and Southern Mindanao.

The Davao City-based Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) also called off scheduled surgeries but announced that its “teleconsultation” centers would remain open.

The government’s coronavirus task force has placed Davao region, including Davao City, under Alert Level 3 until January 31, citin a surge in COVID-19 infections and the spread of the more transmissible Omicron variant.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said on Monday that the city was seeing a “fourth surge” in COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. The city registered an increase of nearly 700% in COVID-19 cases from January 9 to January 16, and accounted for 72.2% of the total number of active COVID-19 cases in Southern Mindanao – the highest in the region so far since the start of 2022. 

SPMC registered an RT-PCR testing positivity rate of 28.13% or 409 of 1,454 people given COVID-19 tests as of Sunday, January 16. It has so far logged 71 new cases, 321 active cases, and one COVID-19-related death this year. 

The hospital said 75% of its intensive care unit (ICU) beds, or 45 of 60, were occupied. It also registered an 81.09% ward bed utilization rate or 283 of 349. 

The Davao region and the city, however, saw the number of single-day cases dropping significantly on Monday.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) in Southern Mindanao showed that the number of newly documented infections in the region dropped by 60.90% or from 629 to 383 from January 16 to January 17. 

Davao City too, which logged 493 new cases on January 16, saw the number decreasing to 274 on January 17, a 55.58% drop. 

The Davao region, however, saw five COVID-19-related deaths, two of them recorded in Davao City. –

Grace Cantal-Albasin is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.