Cebu City exec wants partially built hospital operational by Aug. 9

Published August 4, 2021, 5:30 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – As the city continues to reel from overwhelmed hospitals due to the rising cases of COVID-19, the city is racing against time to make the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) operational for COVID-19 patients.

Aside from dealing with overwhelmed hospitals, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) reported that at least 132 medical frontliners were infected with COVID-19 in the past two weeks.

Acting Mayor Michael Rama on Wednesday instructed the company that the city contracted to construct the CCMC to make the first three floors of the hospital operational by Monday, August 9.

Failing to do so may lead to the termination of the company’s contract with the city, Rama warned.

“They should work on it. I have talked to the contractor to do their job or I will have their contract terminated. Of course I’m very serious, we mean business, we walk the talk,” Rama said in a press conference Wednesday.

The old CCMC was tore down after it sustained significant damage during an earthquake in 2013.

While the new CCMC is being constructed, a city hospital was temporarily housed in a building situated beside the newly constructed hospital.

CCMC has less than 50 COVID-19 beds that prompted Rama to order the immediate completion of the new hospital building.

Rama issued the ultimatum following an incident last Sunday night that saw at least 33 patients lining up outside a private hospital.

Some aided by oxygen tanks due to difficulty in breathing, the patients stayed inside in their cars or in the hospital lobby while waiting to be admitted.

The critical care utilization rate in the 15 medical facilities the city remained high at 62.1 percent as of August 4.

The city has 984 COVID-19 beds, 611 were occupied and 373 were vacant.

The lack of medical workers coupled with the rising COVID-19 cases have been the main reason behind hospitals being overwhelmed, city officials have said.

“One less medical worker already has a big impact,” said Garganera.

Garganera said of the infected medical personnel that included doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, medical technologist, laboratory technicians and paramedics, only one was unvaccinated.

To augment the city’s medical workforce, the city is hiring 200 nurses.

Dr. Jeffrey Ibones, city health officer, said 100 nurses will be for CCMC while the other 100 will be deployed in different private hospitals.

The city is also expanding the Cebu City Quarantine Center from 160-bed to a 300-bed facility.

As of August 3, the city’s active COVID-19 cases stood at 3,054 as it continued to log three digits of new cases.

COVID-19 deaths have also been increasing as the city recorded 10 new deaths last August 3. The city has 953 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic struck last year.

The city logged 78 COVID-19 deaths last July while for the first three days of August, 30 individuals have already died due to the virus based on the Department of Health-Central Visayas data.

Aside from overwhelmed hospitals, the city is also dealing with lack of burial spaces in the city.

With cemeteries in city proper already full, the city has advised the public to bury their departed loved ones in mountain barangays where available cemeteries can be found.