North Cotabato town has new emergency isolation facility

Published August 10, 2020, 4:02 PM

by Keith Bacongco

DAVAO CITY – The local government of Carmen in North Cotabato has beefed up its readiness in combatting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with the inauguration of a fully-equipped emergency isolation facility on Monday.

Mayor Moises Arendain leads the inauguration of the the newly-completed isolation facility in Carmen, North Cotabato on Monday. ( Photo courtesy of Jea-Arda E. Jacinto / LGU Carmen)

Mayor Moises Arendain told The Manila Bulletin that the completion of the air-conditioned emergency isolation facility was a big boost in their efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 considering that Carmen is one of the entry points of the province.

Carmen shares its boundary with the town of Damulog, which is already part of Bukidnon province. 
The mayor added that the isolation facility cost about P7 million to complete, and is made of customized container vans, which the first of its kind in the province. 

“It is made of improvised container vans with tiles, proper external roofing, hospital beds, nurses’ station, swabbing booth, medical supplies and individual comfort rooms,” said Arendain.  

The facility is intended for COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic, as well as those with mild symptoms, he pointed out.

But for severe cases, the mayor added, they will be referred to the facility in the neighboring town of Kabacan, which is also part of North Cotabato, or to the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) in Cotabato City.  

The mayor added that the isolation facility was constructed through the Bayanihan Grant to Cities and Municipalities fund, and can cater up to eight patients with complete facilities, including a mechanical ventilator for emergency cases.

“We just bought one ventilator for emergency cases, just one because it’s very expensive,” he explained.   

With the completion of the facility, Arendain expressed confidence that the municipality is now COVID-19-ready. 

“Our advantage also is that we have a well-equipped municipal hospital,” he said. 

He thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for the realization of the facility, saying that it is a big help to combat COVID-19.

“With this facility, it gives us the peace of mind that we have this facility to prevent local transmission,” Arendain added.

Aside from the emergency isolation facility, Arendain disclosed that they have also utilized the evacuation center that was originally intended for natural and man-made calamities.

The evacuation center, which can accommodate up to 100 individuals, has been turned into a quarantine facility and was funded by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

Since the pandemic broke out, Arendain said that about 1,000 individuals have already been quarantined in the facility. Most of them were returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

As of August 10, the local government has recorded four positive cases and have already recovered from the disease. Moreover, the OCD-funded facility is currently holding at least 40 locally stranded individuals (LSIs).