Sarangani taps Chinese-donated facility for COVID-19 patients

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 04 April) — The P350-million drug rehabilitation center donated by the Chinese government in Sarangani is being transformed as the province’s isolation facility for patients with suspected novel coronavirus disease  (COVID-19), officials said.

Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon said they have designated the 150-bed Dangerous Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Alabel town as the province’s medical facility for patients under investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19.

The P350-million Chinese-funded SOCCSKSARGEN Dangerous Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Barangay Kawas in Alabel, Sarangai was inaugurated and turned over on December 17, 2018. The 150-bed facility stands is located within a three-hectare land provided by the provincial government. SARANGANI COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE

In February, four Chinese tourists who sneaked into Glan town, the province’s major tourism spot famous for its white sand beaches, were quarantined at the drug rehabilitation center.

“That actually gave us a semblance on what to do in case there would be cases of COVID-19 in Sarangani,” Solon said in a statement on Friday.

The Chinese nationals completed the mandatory quarantine, with negative laboratory results, in the facility that is being refurbished to accommodate 10 patients with five beds each room for females and another for males.

Dr. Arvin Alejandro, Sarangani provincial health officer, said a barrier is installed  between the beds, for physical distancing purposes.

Inspection and control measures will be established like installing a disinfection tent, he added.

The Chinese-donated drug rehabilitation center was inaugurated and turned over to the local government in December 2018. It sits on a hill at Barangay Kawas, overlooking Sarangani Bay and General Santos City.

It is China’s first completed infrastructure project donated to the country, the Sarangani government said earlier.

Solon said that Sarangani, which is under a state of enhanced community quarantine, remains free from COVID-19.

In case the number of PUIs will surge, the next contingency plan is to utilize the Sarangani Health Care Facility inside the provincial capitol compound that could accommodate up to 30 patients, Alejandro said.

He said they already identified the isolation facilities in the villages and municipalities for PUIs or persons under monitoring (PUMs) with mild symptoms.

According to the 5 p.m. April 3 data from the Department of Health – Region 12 (Soccsksargen), there were 18 PUIs in Sarangani, five of them discharged, one confined in a hospital and 12 under home quarantine.

At least 17 PUMs have been under home quarantine in Sarangani, which is composed of seven towns, as of late Friday afternoon. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)