COVID-19 surge overwhelms Cebu City hospitals

Published July 28, 2021, 4:16 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – The surge of COVID-19 cases has overwhelmed hospitals here.

“On the part of the private hospitals, we are full to the brim. If you go around the hospital, they are all full,” Dr. Peter Mancao said in a press briefing Wednesday, July 28.

Ambulances with patients parked outside hospitals have been a common sight here for the past few days.

“Our three major hospitals, their ambulance responders, they won’t take calls anymore,” added Mancao, deputy chief of the city’s COVID-19 vaccination task force.

The three major health facilities that Mancao were referring to are private hospitals Chong Hua Hospital, Perpetual Succour Hospital, and Cebu Doctors’ Hospital.

“If you call for an ambulance, they will decline unless the patients have reservations. Otherwise, you have to wait in the ambulance for 24 hours,” said Mancao.

Inside the Emergency Rooms (ERs), patients will be attended to based on their assigned priority numbers, Mancao revealed.

Mancao said hospitals have put up temporary holding areas for patients who cannot be attended right away in ERs.

He said the city’s COVID-19 situation “is back to square one” and authorities must consider imposing a city-wide lockdown.

“We have to go back to the previous situation,” Mancao said, referring to the situation last year when the city was placed under hard lockdown.

Without giving figures, Mancao said most of the COVID-19 patients being brought to hospitals are unvaccinated.

Active COVID-19 cases here rose to 2,290 after recording 187 new infections Tuesday, July 27.

Active COVID-19 cases in Cebu reached 2,078 after tallying 235 new infections last Tuesday. Lapu-Lapu City’s active cases stood at 1,021 while Mandaue City had 749.

Mancao said the rising cases and the lack of hospital personnel were the main reasons behind hospitals being overwhelmed.

For now, hospitals must develop their triage and holding areas for patients that cannot be accommodated in ERs. Setting up field hospitals will also help decongest the city’s major hospitals.

Mancao said that some hospitals such as CDH have opened more COVID-19 rooms.

In the press briefing, acting city Mayor Michael Rama appealed to the public to strictly observe health protocols so that the city would not to reimpose a lockdown.

“Are we going to wait for another lockdown? So therefore, my directive and my appeal to every family and parents, do your own measure. This is now a parents’ responsibility. Take the responsibility to keep the family inside the house until and unless it is very essential to go outside,” said Rama.

Councilor Raymond Garcia the city will hire 200 nurses to help augment the medical workforce here.

Garcia said 100 nurses will be deployed at the Cebu City Medical Center while the other 100 will be hired for private hospitals. The city will be giving P10,000 financial assistance for nurses deployed in private hospitals.