Davao City braces for COVID ‘mega surge’

Published April 1, 2021, 1:32 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The city government of Davao has prepared its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) isolation and quarantine facilities and started a “manhunt” on active cases in communities in anticipation of a possible “mega surge” across the country, Davao City Health Office (CHO) acting head Dr. Ashley Lopez said.

Davao City Health Office (CHO) acting head Dr. Ashley Lopez

Lopez said during his program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) Wednesday that the city government did not discount the possibility that the alarming spike in COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Cebu might soon happen across the country.

“The surge that is happening in NCR and Cebu could involve the whole country. That’s why, we can call it a ‘mega surge’ because it can simultaneously happen across the Philippines,” he said.

Health authorities in the country detected an increasing number of cases of South African and UK variants in the NCR and Cebu, including the latest variant called “P-3” that was first detected in the Philippines.

In a text message Thursday, Lopez said the city has a bed capacity of 2,500 for COVID-19 patients. He said the TTMFs that are currently suspended due to low admissions can be reopened if need arises.

“We have several TTMFs that are temporarily suspended because of decreasing admissions but if needed to reopen, we have 2,500 more or less, not counting SPMC (Southern Philippines Medical Center) and other hospitals,” he said.

Lopez also encouraged private hospitals to add more COVID-19 beds.

He said there are also plans to expand SPMC, the lone isolation unit in the city for moderate, severe, and critical case.

Aside from harnessing COVID-19 facilities, Lopez said the city government has implemented the “expanded mandatory testing” of all close contacts, which means second and third generation contacts of an index case will be subjected to a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“We need to look into every possible way that the transmission could happen. We need to trace up any contacts of the index case so we could test them. The more tests we have, the more we can have an accurate situation as far as COVID-19 infections are concerned,” he said.

He said contact tracers are conducting a manhunt to look for undetected active cases in the communities.

“We have to conduct a manhunt — or we have to hunt — every possible COVID suspects that we could get. So that aside from preventing hopefully the entry of new variants, we could also overcome our active cases because we want to lower it down much more, or zero if possible,” he said.