Pateros isolation facility insufficient for increasing number of COVID-19 patients

Pateros Mayor Miguel Ponce III on Thursday (Aug. 13) said the city no longer has enough room in its isolation facility to accommodate the increasing number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in the municipality. 

Pateros Mayor Miguel Ponce III speaks in a Facebook Live netcast. (Screenshot from Isang Pateros video/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“Our problem is that because of the high number of people who test positive (for COVID-19), our isolation facility is inadequate,” he said in a Facebook Live netcast. 

The municipality has 510 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Aug. 11, including 195 patients who have recovered, and seven deaths, leaving 308 active cases. 

However, Ponce said Pateros only has about 85 beds at its isolation facility, and 70 of these are occupied. Some 82 patients were transferred outside Pateros to hotels and an isolation tent in Alabang, Muntinlupa, while the rest of the active cases are in their homes. 

“We are trying our best to check if they are correctly following home isolation (guidelines),” said Ponce, who appealed to the patients and their families to be responsible. “If you are positive, please stay in an isolated space in your house until you are transferred.” 

If there is no available isolation facility in Metro Manila, the Pateros municipal government may be forced to transfer its COVID-19 positive patients to the government’s quarantine facility in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. 

Regarding testing, Ponce said the Pateros mega swabbing facility can only conduct about 500 tests per day, and their priorities are those identified as close contacts of COVID-19 patients, senior citizens, and pregnant women.  

He said people going out to buy essential supplies should always wear face masks and face shields, and observe physical distancing.