Frontliners overworked with surge in COVID cases in Davao Region – health official

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 5 November) – Frontline healthcare workers have been “overburdened” with the surge in new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Davao Region cases following the easing of restrictions under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), Dr. Cleo Fe Tabada, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of Department of Health-Davao, said.

During a virtual press briefer on Wednesday, Tabada said hospitals claimed that many of the overburdened medical staff have either taken longer leaves or resigned from work for their safety.

“The problem is, we’ve received reports that some have taken longer leave from work because, perhaps, they are afraid or worried if they stay in their post. That’s one. Second, there are those who resigned. Third, those healthcare workers, as claimed by hospitals and facilities, are quite overburdened, maybe it’s because there are just a few of them or the utilization has increased whether it’s for COVID or non-COVID,” she said.

Tabada also admitted the healthcare system of the region was getting overwhelmed, expressing fear this might affect the quality of medical services provided for the people.

“The health care system is quite overburdened, and because of this, a lot of people are not able to get optimal care so, as a consequence, there could be an increase in cases and even, as you may have seen, an increase in morbidity and mortality. Ubay-ubay ang mamatay (Many have died),” she said.

As of November 4, DOH-Davao reported 5,953 cases with 1,625 active ones, 4,116 recoveries and 212 deaths.

Of the total, 4,072 were reported in Davao City, 315 in Davao de Oro, 655 in Davao del Norte, 443 in Davao del Sur, 104 in Davao Occidental and 364 in Davao Oriental.

As of Wednesday, DOH-Davao assistant regional director Lenny Joy Rivera said 845 of the 3,590 healthcare workers in the region have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Southern Philippines Medical Center and satellite facility of Davao Doctors Hospital in Barangay Dumoy in the city and Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum are the COVID-19 referral hospitals in the region.

As of November 3, Rivera reported that 82.35 percent of the 50 ICU beds, 49.33 percent of 493 isolation beds, 70.25 percent of the 124 ward beds, and 43.10-percent of the 51 mechanical ventilators in the region have been utilized.

The entire city was placed under enhanced community quarantine from April 4 to May 15, GCQ from May 16 until June 30, and MGCQ from July 1 until the end of November. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)