South Cotabato reviews capacity to address possible surge in virus cases

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 03 September) – The provincial government of South Cotabato has launched a review of its available patient care resources for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as it braces for a possible surge of infections amid the confirmed local transmission.

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. met on Thursday with hospital owners and members of the province’s medical society to discuss the available bed capacity and other necessary resources for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The South Cotabato provincial capitol in Koronadal City. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

He said he called for the emergency meeting to also discuss hospital protocols and possible needed improvements on the management of COVID-19 cases.

“We are currently re-evaluating these so we can address possible gaps and set up the needed interventions,” he told reporters.

Based on the Department of Health’s inventory as of Sept. 1 of Covid-19 resources in the province, only 46 or 33.6 percent of the available 137 beds in 22 facilities were so far occupied.

These cover 44 or 37.3 percent of the 118 isolation beds and two of five intensive care unit beds. The 17 designated ward beds remain vacant.

Eight of the facilities with recorded admissions are still in “safe zone” or patient occupancy of less than 30 percent, three under “warning” level or 30 to 70-percent occupied, and one in “danger” level due to above 70-percent occupancy.

All eight mechanical ventilators on standby in various hospitals are currently vacant or not being used.

As of Thursday morning, the province’s confirmed COVID-19 cases already reached a total of 125, with 81 recoveries.

The South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office reported 13 new cases on Wednesday night, six of which were linked to confirmed cases.

Five of the additional cases were from Surallah town, three from Polomolok, two from Koronadal City and one each from Tantangan, Tboli and Norala.

Surallah and Polomolok, which already recorded COVID-19 local transmission in the last two weeks, have three new infections with recorded exposure to previously confirmed cases.

Three of the new cases, one each from Surallah, Tantangan and Koronadal City, had travel history to the fishport complex here, which is considered a COVID-19 “hotspot” due to increased infections traced to its facilities.

It said the three remaining cases, one each from Tboli, Norala and Koronadal City, were returning residents with travel history from Pasay City, Cagayan de Oro City and Lanao del Sur.

Portions of Polomolok and Surallah were earlier placed under localized lockdown to facilitate the contact-tracing and implementation of containment measures.

The city government of Koronadal imposed a granular lockdown on Wednesday night in Purok Pagkakaisa, Barangay San Isidro and placed a compound in a housing village in Barangay Sta. Cruz under containment Thursday morning due to the confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Tamayo assured that the local government has been doubly working to contain the local transmission and prevent the further spread of the disease to other areas in the province.

He advised residents to comply with the health protocols and control measures being implemented in the area.

These include the lockdown of the province’s borders until Sept. 15 and the mandatory registration and use of the province’s digital logbook dubbed South Cotabato-COVID-19 Contract Tracing System (CCTS).

“That (CCTS) is not a license for people to roam around. Everyone should stay home if possible,” he said. (MindaNews)