South Cotabato to expand COVID-19 treatment facilities

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 18 Aug) – Health authorities in South Cotabato are planning to expand the capacity of the province’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment facilities as they anticipate another possible surge of infections in the coming weeks.

South Cotabato. Map courtesy of Google

Dr. Conrado Braña, the designated head of public hospitals in the province, said Wednesday they are looking at maximizing the available resources at the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital (SCPH) in Koronadal City and in other local government-run facilities to accommodate more patients.

He said they can still increase the capacity of the COVID-19 Center at the SCPH from the current 60 to 100 beds and allot additional spaces at the Polomolok Municipal Hospital and Norala District Hospital.

Braña said they are also considering reopening the treatment facility at the Soccsksargen General Hospital in Surallah town, which is currently under management transition to the Department of Health.

“We need to prepare enough treatment facilities and other resources in case there will be another surge due to these COVID-19 variants,” he said in a press conference in Koronadal City.

He specifically cited the increasing infections in Metro Manila, Cebu, and in other areas in the country that are believed caused by the spread of the highly contagious and more virulent Delta variant.

As of Wednesday, he said the COVID-19 admissions at the SCPH and other local hospitals remained manageable but noted that the area’s situation remained volatile.

The SCPH center has 60 available beds, including five in the intensive care unit (ICU), and four mechanical ventilators.

It has eight confirmed patients admitted at the treatment ward, seven are in the holding area while waiting for the results of their reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing, and four are in the ICU.

Braña said they are still hoping that the anticipated surge will not happen but the current trend and situation in other areas are pointing to it.

He said that before the enhanced community quarantine was declared earlier this month in Metro Manila and other affected areas, many residents who might be carrying the Delta variant managed to return to the province.

“If it happens, we’re expecting a surge by the last week of August or early September,” the official said.

On Monday, Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. met with the province’s medical sector and other concerned stakeholders to discuss the surge plan against the Delta variant.

The province posted 751 active COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday night, increasing by nearly 100 in just three days.

The confirmed infections in the area since last year already reached a total of 10,120 and 306 related deaths, both the highest in Region 12 (Soccsksargen). Some 9,063 patients have so far recovered. (MindaNews)