Zamboanga’s top hospital shuns normal birthing services as COVID-19 cases soar

Frencie Carreon
Zamboanga’s top hospital shuns normal birthing services as COVID-19 cases soar

The Zamboanga City Medical Center

ZCMC FB page

The hospital decides to temporarily stop admitting pregnant women for normal deliveries after it logs 249 patients, 217 of whom are COVID-19-infected as of Thursday

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) temporarily stopped admitting pregnant women for normal deliveries as the hospital saw its capacity overstretching due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the city.

“Due to the current COVID-19 surge, we regret to inform the public that the ZCMC OB-Gyne Department will temporarily not [admit] pregnant mothers in their 2nd to 4th pregnancy (G-2 to G4) for normal delivery,” read the ZCMC public advisory on Thursday, January 27.

The decision came after the hospital admitted 249 patients, 217 of whom were COVID-19-infected as of Thursday.

Dr. Shadrina Salapuddin, ZCMC’s spokesperson, said, “Because of that, the OB-Gyne Department advised, temporarily, that they go to the Mindanao Central Sanitarium or the Labuan General Hospital.”

ZCMC, however, said it would only admit those with complications.

Salapuddin said, “This policy will be evaluated again in a week.”

It would depend, she said, on the number of COVID-19 patients. “If it drops, and ZCMC manpower can handle the number of patients, we will resume accepting normal delivery cases.”

The hospital said 63% of the COVID-19 patients it admitted were unvaccinated.

The Zamboanga Peninsula region’s biggest tertiary hospital and primary referral hospital for COVID-19 cases documented one COVID-19-related death, four patients in critical condition, and five intubated.

Of the COVID-19 patients, 16% have severe and 67% moderate have symptoms while eight others were on high-flow oxygen.

Dr. Dulce Miravite, City Health Office chief, said Zamboanga City has so far logged 2,379 active cases this year with 268 new cases as of Wednesday, January 26.

Most of those with moderate to severe symptoms were admitted to ZCMC, Mindanao Central Sanitarium, Western Metropolitan Medical Center, Brent Hospital, and ZamPen Hospital, according to Dr. Cathy Garcia, assistant city health officer.

Garcia, however, said the local COVID-19 isolation and treatment facilities were still on the “safe level” in terms of occupancy.

Zamboanga Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco reiterated her appeal to the unvaccinated to get their jabs. 

As of Tuesday, January 25, Zamboanga City has fully vaccinated 65% of residents eligible for inoculation while 69% have yet to receive their second doses. –Rappler.com

Frencie Carreon is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship

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