CDO slides to MECQ; local hospitals still filled with COVID patients

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 16 August) — President Rodrigo Duterte has downgraded the city’s quarantine status from Enhance Community Quarantine (ECQ) to modified ECQ from Aug. 16-31 as COVID-19 cases continued to put a strain on the capacity of local hospitals.

The move ended the one-month EQC in the city, the strictest quarantine category, which started in mid-July in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

A police officer checks on the barangay exit pass of a jeepney passenger in Cagayan de Oro City on Wednesday (21 July 2021) as authorities tighten quarantine measures in the face of the threat posed by the Delta variant of COVID-19. MindaNews photo Photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Mayor Oscar Moreno welcomed the downgrading of quarantine measures but warned it could plunge the city into another surge in infections.

“I hope this will not be a license for the Cagayan de Oro residents to go out and party. The virus is still out there,” Moreno said.

A Department of Health (DOH) medical briefer said 245 new COVID-19 infections and seven deaths were recorded in Cagayan de Oro on Aug. 15.

Health officials said local hospitals especially the Northern Mindanao Regional Center (NMMC), the main government referral center for COVID-19 cases in Region 10, are already filled to capacity.

DOH Region 10 assistant director Dr. David Mendoza said hospitals in the city are still “on red alert” with overcapacity caused by the growing number of COVID-19 patients.

“Covid-19 cases are on the rise in neighboring provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental and most of their serious cases are sent here straining the hospitals here,” Mendoza said during a press briefing.

The same DOH briefer on August 15 said 242 Covid-19 cases were reported in Bukidnon while 72 cases were detected in Misamis Oriental.

NMMC spokesperson Dr. Bernard Julius Rocha said they have already placed some of the patients in the emergency room area after its six floors were filled with serious COVID-19 cases.

“If your patient with COVID-19 will come here at NMMC, we cannot guarantee that a room or a bed will be available,” Rocha said.

Regional community newspaper Mindanao Gold Star Daily has also reported that private hospitals in the city have reached full bed capacity.

It reported that some hospitals have posted “No more bed Vacancies” signs on their gates. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)