DUMAGUETE CITY – The Negros Oriental Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) is now identifying possible additional isolation facilities as hospital beds allocated for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients are already full.
Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion, in an interview Wednesday, said they have already made arrangements with a hotel in this capital city while also considering some dormitories as alternative isolation facilities for mild and moderate cases.
Estacion, the incident commander for Covid-19 of the provincial IATF, said only severe cases must be admitted to the hospitals.
She declined to name the hotel that would accept suspect or confirmed asymptomatic Covid-19 cases, citing privacy reasons, but Estacion said the person who has to be quarantined will have to pay for his or her accommodation.
The move to find additional quarantine facilities came in the midst of a surge of cases in the province which, Estacion said, is expected to continue to climb in the coming days or weeks.
She also appealed to the private hospitals to extend the number of Covid-19 isolation beds to accommodate more patients seeking medical care.
Meanwhile, Estacion said the regional director of the Department of Health in Region 7 asked all first generation contacts of positive Covid-19 patients to undergo swab tests.
Local government units (LGUs) are advised to have quarantine facilities for those waiting for the swab test, she said.
Estacion said these are some of the new protocols to be imposed in Negros Oriental as the health care system is on the brink of collapse, as described by local doctors, because of the unprecedented spike in cases.
Meanwhile, the city government here has been given by the DOH-7 a quota of 500 to 600 swab tests in the next two weeks for Covid-19 suspects and contacts “so that we can really get a clear picture of the status in this city”, she said.
The DOH-7 will be sending Universal Transport Medium (UTM) kits to the Dumaguete LGU for the mass testing, the specimens of which shall be immediately sent to Cebu City, she added.
The provincial government is willing to assist the Dumaguete LGU in this endeavor, Estacion said.
Negros Oriental is now the “epicenter” of Covid-19 cases in the Central Visayas region, with mounting calls from doctors and several other quarters for the re-imposition of a higher form of quarantine to stem the spread of the pathogen. (PNA)