GenSan running out of COVID-19 hospital beds as local transmission soars

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 31 August)– The city government has raised concern over the declining bed capacity of local hospitals treating patients infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as it formally declared the local transmission of the virus.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said in a public video message posted on Monday afternoon that the city has been facing a difficult period due to the increasing locally acquired and transmitted cases of the disease in the last two weeks.

“We already have (COVID-19) local transmission. Everyone should be alert and consider that we have possible virus carriers in our midst,” he said.

He said at least six barangays were so far affected by the situation and placed under localized lockdown in the past several days to track down and contain other suspected cases.

Rivera said there were family members who infected each other and cases were detected among frontliners, including doctors, and essential workers.

Due to the situation, he said the bed capacity of local medical facilities catering to COVID-19 patients is “slowly getting full.”

He said the problem is being compounded by the rising hospital admission of infected patients from the neighboring areas.

“Critical cases from other localities are being brought to our hospitals as they are the only ones capable of handling them,” he said.

The city has at least five private and one public hospitals that have allotted care facilities for the treatment of suspect and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

But the COVID-19 Center of the city government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital can only cater to eight patients at one time.

The St. Elizabeth Hospital, which has an authorized capacity of 273 beds, listed a total of 14 active COVID-19 admissions as of Monday out of the allotted 82 beds, or 30 percent of its available care resources.

In an advisory issued on Sunday, the management of the 202-bed General Santos Doctor’s Hospital (GSDH) announced that it has already reached the full capacity for resources allotted to COVID-19 and regular patients.

GSDH, which is one of the five private tertiary hospitals here that are capable of handling COVID-19 patients, asked the public to consider bringing their patients to other hospitals temporarily.

As of Monday morning, the City Health Office (CHO) reported the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the area already reached a total of 76, with 40 recoveries.

Since August 17, local cases increased by 25, with 22 considered as locally transmitted and three coming from returning locally stranded individuals.

At least 11 cases, mostly with exposure to confirmed infections, were recorded in the last two days, the CHO report said.

Rivera said the massive contact-tracing activities are ongoing in parts of the city and gave assurances that the local government is doing everything to contain them.

He said they will continue to strictly implement the ban on non-essential travels into the city and only deliveries for food and other essential supplies will be allowed access in the border checkpoints.

The move was aimed to prevent the possible spread of “imported” COVID-19 cases from nearby localities, he said.

He urged residents to stay home if possible and properly comply with the mandatory health protocols such as practicing proper hygiene, wearing of face masks and face shields and observing safe physical distancing. (MindaNews)