Medical community appeals for GenSan to be placed under ECQ

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (PNA) – Overwhelmed by the increasing number of local transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases these past weeks, the medical community here appealed to the local government to place the entire city under the stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Dr. Fidel Peñamante, president of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) chapter here, said the ECQ will give their ranks a “breather” after being decimated by infection and exposure to the disease.

He said they submitted their “letter of appeal” last Monday afternoon to City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.

The move was a “collegial decision” of the chapter following an assessment of the available manpower in hospitals and other facilities here that were catering to COVID-19 cases.

“We are now in critical condition,” Peñamante said during the city council’s regular session on Tuesday.

He said the local government needs to further limit the movement of people in the city under a tighter community quarantine policy to prevent the further spread of the disease.

The city’s confirmed COVID-19 cases since March has already reached a total of 189 as of Wednesday morning, with eight deaths and 62 recoveries.

The recorded infections in the area significantly increased in the last three weeks due to the confirmed local transmission, and clustering of cases in 16 of its 26 barangays.

On Monday, the city government placed anew the area under general community quarantine and extended the lockdown of its borders until Sept. 27.

Dr. Annie Du-Yabut, PMA’s COVID-19 coordinator here, said at least 12 medical front-liners from public and private hospitals here were already infected with the coronavirus, while 249 others were under quarantine after being exposed to confirmed cases.

In a report to the city council, she said those infected comprised two doctors, three nurses, and seven other health care workers.

She said a total of 12 doctors, 120 nurses, and 117 hospital staff were under isolation and quarantine.

The City Health Office earlier said at least 121 medical front-liners and health workers assigned in rural health units and other field units were also quarantine after being identified as close contacts of COVID-19 patients.

"The number of affected front-liners is already comparable to the entire nursing and healthcare population of a hospital. It’s like an entire hospital is now down due to the number of quarantined health care workers,” Yabut said.