Issue of April 5, 2020
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Are prov’l hospitals scared of COVID-19?
by Jane B. Cadalig

While assuring they can attend to patients infected by the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19), the chief of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center has reminded health facilities outside the city to also be ready for the expected rise in the number of patients.

BGHMC Chief Ricardo Ruñez, Jr. said while the local health facility is equipped and has the manpower to take care of Covid-19 patients, they will be overwhelmed if provincial hospitals will keep referring their cases to the BGHMC.

“We are asking other hospitals to prepare for Covid-19 cases. ‘Di naman pwedeng ‘pag ayaw tanggapin sa ibang provinces, i-refer palagi sa Baguio General Hospital,” he said during an online press briefing on March 31.

Ruñez said BGHMC has 40 beds dedicated for Covid-19 patients. As of March 31, he said there are nine persons under investigation (PUIs) who are attended to at the BGHMC while six PUIs are taken care of at the hotels that were converted as Covid-19 facilities.

The BGHMC is also one of the five tertiary hospitals in the country designated as a sub-national testing center for Covid-19.

Ruñez said they screen an average of 80 to 100 samples per day since the BGHMC was certified by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine to conduct Covid-19 testing.

The Abra Provincial Hospital has referred to the BGHMC two of its Covid-19 patients citing lack of health professionals to attend to them.

The first positive case of Covid-19 in the Cordillera is from Abra who has a history of travel to a Covid-19 affected country and has sought medical attention at the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center.

Department of Health-Abra Development Management Officer Alex Bayubay said other health workers in Abra refuse to report to work and attend to Covid-19 patients because they are ostracized in their communities.

Bayubay said the patient already recovered and has been discharged, but will still be isolated.

Department of Health-Cordillera Director Amelita Pangilinan has asked local chief executives to help hospitals look for areas that could serve as confinement centers for Covid-19 patients.

The remaining Covid-19-free provinces in the Cordillera are Apayao, Kalinga, Ifugao, and Mountain Province.

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