Issue of January 10, 2021
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Baguio drums up campaign to safeguard elders vs COVID-19
by PNA

The city government is coming up with an intensified information education campaign (IEC) focused on senior citizens’ protection against the Covid-19 to address the high number of deaths among the sector in the past three weeks.

City Social Welfare and Development Officer Betty Fangasan said there is a need for more advocacies to inform and remind the senior citizens that they need to protect themselves and to seek immediate medical attention if they are not feeling well.

Health authorities have included senior citizens as one of the sectors vulnerable to the Covid-19.

City Health Officer Rowena Galpo reported a 67 percent increase in the number of deaths involving senior citizens with co-morbidities was recorded in three weeks.

On Dec. 17, the city has recorded 48 deaths and this increased by 23 cases for a total of 71 deaths as of Jan. 5, with most of them elderly.

“We report deaths almost every day,” Galpo said.

Aside from Covid-19, majority of senior citizens who died have hypertension and diabetes mellitus.

“They were only brought to the hospital when their condition worsened and their health situation deteriorated,” Galpo said.

She said several elderly people refuse to be brought to the hospital even if they are not feeling well because of the fear that they can acquire more diseases including Covid-19 if they go to the hospital.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong has ordered a meeting between CHSO personnel and hospital doctors to discuss the increasing number of deaths among senior citizens.

“We want to do something about it. Let us arrest it. Let us also find out why our deaths are increasing,” the mayor said.

There is also an increase in the use of intensive care unit (ICU) and mechanical ventilators in hospitals compared in the past.

Based on the record, 11 out of 30 ICU beds in three hospitals – Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, SLU Hospital, and Notre Dame de Chartres – are in use, while 11 of the 18 mechanical ventilators are also in use.

This means the number of critical cases is also increasing, Galpo said.

She said the BGHMC currently has 875 city-managed isolation beds.

Sto. Niño has 251 beds, the Roxas hall of Teachers’ Camp has 116, Quirino hall has 200 beds, V-Dorm 1 has 83, V-Dorm 3 has 53, Ferionni apartments has 60, the Laurel dorm has 101, and the dorm for returning overseas Filipino workers at Teachers’ Camp has 11 beds.

Of the number, 241 are occupied leaving 72.5 percent available.

Magalong said they hope to bring to 1,000 the number of the city’s isolation beds by the end of this month.

Aside from the isolation facilities, there are 229 critical care beds in the five hospitals in the city for the vulnerable, high-risk, and critical cases.

The city has a 90.53 percent recovery rate or 3,622 recoveries.

Baguio City has also conducted 97,773 PCR tests out of its 370,000 population.

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