CRMC frontliners on quarantine now at 102

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 22 July) – The number of health workers of the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) now on quarantine rose to 102 following their direct exposure to the boy from Lanao del Sur who was admitted at the hospital and found to be positive of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Cotabato Regional and Medical Center in Cotabato City photographed in March 2020. MindaNews file photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

Dr. Helen Yambao, chief of the CRMC, also clarified in a telephone interview Wednesday aired over Ronda FM TeleRadyo 106.1 that the hospital is not shutting down operations but acknowledged that they are not anymore accepting patient admissions except life threatening cases as they still have to conduct disinfection procedures.

On Monday, the chief of the Cotabato City-based government hospital reported that 92 had been placed on a 14-day mandatory quarantine after being exposed to the boy from Malabang, Lanao del Sur who was admitted, and eventually died, at CRMC because of COVID-19 complications.

She said among those under quarantine for their protection and to prevent local transmission were doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, medical technologists, radio technologists, and utility workers.

But she said the number of personnel affected constitutes less than 10 percent of the total number of health staff working at the hospital as they have a total of 1,400 personnel, including those with regular status, casual, and “job order” employees.

“This means there is no truth to reports that the hospital management is planning to shut off its operations. We still have enough personnel to do the tasks. There is no shutdown whatsoever,” said Yambao.

She said that all of their intensive care units (ICUs) – which include the medical ICU, neo-natal ICU, pediatric ICU, surgical ICU, and obstetrics-gynecology ICU – have been undergoing disinfection since Sunday, a day after the three-year-old boy was admitted and died at CRMC.

Yambao said the disinfection will continue until such time that the more than 230 patients in the hospital’s wards are discharged.

The hospital chief clarified that have not been accepting admissions since Sunday, except life threatening and emergency cases duly evaluated and assessed by their doctors.

“We don’t admit critically ill patients for now. Even those about to give birth but not life-threatening cases,” she added.

Yambao said a few of their staff assigned at the hospital’s COVID-19 testing facility were also placed under mandatory quarantine.

But this won’t affect the operation of the facility since it has enough staff to handle the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

The facility, she explained, is separated from the isolation facilities for critical care.

Yambao said that as of Wednesday, the CRMC has 49 cases in isolation because of the viral infection. Of the number, 13 are confirmed COVID-19 cases and the rest are considered suspects. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)