Stricter quarantine measures will be imposed in Zamboanga City again on Saturday, October 16, as the city saw another surge in COVID-19 cases.
Zamboanga’s active COVID-19 cases have gone up to 2,776 as of Friday, October 15, the last day of the city’s less stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) status.
The COVID-19 interagency task force placed Zamboanga City in the list of places that would be under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) after the city, as well as the Zamboanga Peninsula region, saw hospitals being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.
City Health Office chief Dr. Dulce Miravite said the city’s overall hospital occupancy rate reached critical level at 85.9%.
Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco on Friday signed Executive Order 687-2021, setting the guidelines for the implementation of the MECQ measures in the city until October 31.
The measures include the reimposition of the daily 10 pm to 4 am curfew.
Only those with quarantine passes would be allowed outdoors on specific days. Some would be allowed to go out on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays; others only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Miravite said the city’s hospitals were running out of spaces for more COVID-19 patients, and health workers were getting exhausted as they struggled to cope with the overheating health care system.
The Zamboanga Peninsula’s biggest and only tertiary hospital, Zamboanga City Medical Center, has been overstretching its capacity – of its 231 patients as of Friday morning, 215 were all tested positive for COVID-19 and 53% of them were suffering from severe symptoms.
“There are 10 intubated patients and 19 patients on high flow oxygen,” read a ZCMC post on its Facebook page.
It also said its emergency room had 37 patients waiting for their test results and for vacancies in the wards that could only accommodate 25 people.
The hospital noted that about 80% of the COVID-19 patients it admitted were not vaccinated. -Rappler.com
Frencie Carreon is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.