Increased COVID-19 cases in Cebu City affects health workers, PDLs
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The increased Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Cebu City has significantly affected the health care industry and jails.
As the city sees a rise in the cases since the start of the year 2021, a significant increase in cases has been observed among health care workers as well.
On January 12, 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) has placed the city in the top 5 among local government units (LGUs) with the highest number of new cases in the country. DOH reported 51 new cases in the city.
Upon verification of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), they found out that only 47 are actual new cases from the city.
This has raised the active cases to more than 400 as of January 12, 2021, a huge jump from the less than 100 active cases the city recorded at the end of 2020.
Among those that are feeling the sting of the rise in cases are the healthcare workers and the persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).
The regional DOH in Central Visayas (DOH-7) previously said that the rise in the cases among health care workers does not necessarily mean a compromised health care system.
Based on the data of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the occupancy rate for COVID-19 dedicated beds is only at 26 percent as of January 12, 2021, which means that there are still more than enough space for incoming COVID-19 patients.
With more than 400 active cases, these beds may not be empty for long.
Along with the occupied beds is a higher risk for health workers. EOC reports that the cases of health workers have risen to 44 as of January 12 and these come from five hospitals and five other medical facilities.
Although none of the facilities reported being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, the breach in certain protocols has caused the infection of the health workers.
The EOC said that as of now there is no need to worry as affected healthcare workers have been isolated or treated in proper facilities.
As the DOH-7 already said in previous statements, the rise in cases in the healthcare community is a reflection of the overall effects of the rise in cases generally.
“We have a mutual understanding with the hospitals. They have their own contact tracing inside the facility, we conduct contact tracing outside for the people the patient (healthcare worker) came in contact with outside,” said Councilor Joel Garganera.
EOC also reported that 26 persons deprived of liberties (PDLs) also proved positive for the virus.
Garganera said these PDLs came from the police stations and are now isolated or treated in facilities. The stations have also been disinfected.
The councilor said this is why there is a necessity to maintain a holding area for quarantine violators and not mix them with “hardened criminals” so as to avoid transmission between the two groups of detainees.
Quarantine violators are detained for a few hours at the Tejero gym as they serve community service or pay fines for violating quarantine protocols.
Garganera said the sudden rise of cases in the city is a reminder for the public that they must not let down their guard even among their closest people.
“It’s when we are eating, at home, at work, when we are very complacent. That’s where the virus can easily spread,” said the councilor.
As the cases rise, the city government is already preparing the isolation centers including the Cebu City Quarantine Center (CCQC), the NOAH complex at the South Road Properties (SRP), and selected barangay facilities for the possible need to isolate individuals and prevent further rise in infections. /rcg
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