Subic Freeport coronavirus ‘surge’ facilities ready next week

 

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines — Two care and isolation facilities are being prepared by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) should there be a surge in new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

The facilities will be ready by next week.

As of Wednesday afternoon, April 8, the number of coronavirus cases in the country has neared the 4,000 mark.

Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) said that the estimated peak of COVID-19 cases in the country could happen by the end of April to June, with approximately 140,000 to 550,000 people infected in Metro Manila.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma said on Wednesday that the two facilities – the former Leciel Hotel and the Subic gymnasium – will have this weekend the equipment and supplies provided by corporate and individual donors.

NEEDS. SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma (left) discusses facility requirements with Dr Erlinda Alconga, tropical and infectious diseases expert, and other Baypointe medical staff during an inspection of the SBMA care and isolation facility at the Subic gym. Photo from Media Production Department

NEEDS. SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma (left) discusses facility requirements with Dr Erlinda Alconga, tropical and infectious diseases expert, and other Baypointe medical staff during an inspection of the SBMA care and isolation facility at the Subic gym.

Photo from Media Production Department

“We now have two facilities ready in case of a surge in COVID-19 patients, and I thank the companies and individuals in Subic for their support of this SBMA initiative and their concern for the welfare of the community in general,” Eisma said.

“The SBMA provided the two locations and some basic equipment, and now various companies and stakeholder groups are pitching in with personal protection equipment (PPE), supplies, even food and transport services so that our frontliners can do their job,” she added.

Eisma on Wednesday received from PMFTC Inc. a total of 50 collapsible hospital beds, which are the latest of the major donations received by SBMA. These will be installed at the converted Subic gym. 

Eisma also said that the SBMA management is requesting the agency’s board of directors to approve the hiring of 34 medical personnel on a project contract basis, “so that we can fully utilize these two care and isolation facilities.”

The Subic gym, which now houses 32 isolation tents, as well as work and rest quarters for medical care personnel, was inspected also on Wednesday by medical personnel from Baypointe Hospital and Medical Center, where most local COVID-19 cases are confined.

Dr Erlinda Alconga, an expert in tropical and infectious diseases who runs the COVID-19 unit at Baypointe, said that the Leciel Hotel facility, which is just two blocks away from the hospital, would be an ideal place to house additional coronavirus patients coming in from nearby areas. 

“In case of a surge in the number of patients received at Baypointe, all positive patients will be moved to the Subic gym while the Leciel facility would be used to monitor cases of PUIs (patients under investigation),” she said.

Eisma also told Alconga and other Baypointe staff that SBMA is now arranging living quarters for nurses and other medical staff at the Leciel facility, which will be ready for occupancy on Friday, April 10. 

The SBMA chief also assured the Baypointe medical team that SBMA would provide for all the needs of health workers who would be assigned to the two SBMA isolation facilities.

Meanwhile, SBMA also acknowledged various donors and individuals who pitched in for materials that can be used for care and isolation facilities. – Rappler.com