DAVAO CITY – Six empty COVID-19 isolation centers here have been temporarily closed as active cases are slowly going down, leaving several vacant spaces in the temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMFs) of the local government, City Health Office (CHO) acting head Dr. Ashley Lopez said Wednesday.
Lopez said during his program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that the occupancy rate at the TTMFs was reportedly at 19.5 percent while the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), the primary isolation unit for COVID-19 cases in this city, is at 47.51 percent as of Tuesday.
At present, the local health official said the TTMFs that are functioning in the city have been reduced to 12 with a total bed capacity of 1,200 from 18 facilities that were opened when COVID-19 cases peaked in the previous months.
Department of Health (DOH)-Davao reported 37 new cases in the city as of April 13, bringing the total cases to 14,098 with 370 active, 13,046, and 682 deaths.
Lopez added that the new COVID-19 cases with moderate, severe, and critical conditions will be referred to the SPMC to free up the private hospitals of active cases, and to contain the risk of transmission in just one area.
“For the meantime that we still have few patients, they will be referred to the SPMC. What’s the advantage if we are able to contain it in one isolation unit or at the SPMC? In case the new variant is present in any of the COVID-19 patients, we can easily contain it there,” he said.
The last three patients admitted in a private hospital were discharged Tuesday, he said.
Last Monday, Mayor Sara Duterte here said TTMFs must be ready, clean, and complete for patients. The city chief executive emphasized the need for heightened surveillance testing in the communities to stem the spread of COVID-19.
She feared that the hospitals in the city may not be ready to handle a surge of similar intensity experienced in National Capital Region.
Duterte said it’s better to address the transmission of COVID-19 immediately than neglecting it like a ticking time bomb and find out later that the spread of the virus is already serious to the point of congesting hospitals with severe and critical cases.
She said without the heightened testing, cases in the city will surge in two to four months’ time.