Cebu City officially appeals against MECQ
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City joined its fellow Tricities in Cebu in appealing for a lower quarantine restriction.
Acting Mayor Michael Rama initially said he would not be appealing the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), but on July 31, 2021, he officially sent a letter of appeal to the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF).
In his letter, Rama argues that Cebu City should not be placed under MECQ because the city has managed surges before and all resources, as well as protocols, are in place to combat another surge such as this one.
In particular, the city has increased its Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMF) or isolation centers by expanding the capacity of the Cebu City Quarantine Center (CCQC) from 50 to 168 beds.
Department of Public Works and Highways (DWPH)-donated dormitories were also activated as isolation centers with 62 beds, while hotels increased their isolation capacity to 408 beds.
Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) also expanded its COVID-19 dedicated beds to 62, while two cluster clinics were opened to reduce the congestion at the government hospital.
The city also allotted P1.5 billion from the supplemental budget for expenses related to the pandemic including the completion of the Cebu City Medical Center.
A series of meetings and multi-sectoral coordination were also being conducted to address the rising cases.
“The Cebu City government is mindful of striking a balance between health and economy more particularly within its locality or region. Being the center of trade in the Visayas and Mindanao, it may not be handy to disturb its recovering economy which supported not only the City and its constituents but the entire region outside of Luzon.”
“Under the current circumstances, it is submitted that the City of Cebu can better address the rising incident of COVID-19 and the economy through the continuous observance of the current quarantine status (Modified General Community Quarantine),” said Rama in the letter.
As for the situation of the health care sector amid the surge, Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) head Doctor Jaime Bernadas said that the hospital utilization rate is improving.
The deployment of additional nurses to the private hospitals allowed them to open more COVID-19 rooms thereby accomodating more COVID-19 patients as well.
The lines in the emergency room have significantly reduced and with the deployment of more nurses, Bernadas said the hospitals may be able to fully adjust to the current surge by next week.
“Mao na atong gihangyo katong mild lang og symptoms, adto sa sila sa health centers. Dili sila modiretso sa hospital aron dili mapuno atong mga hospitals,” said Bernadas.
The director also explained that the long line of patients awaiting hospital admission in the past week was brought by this adjustment period, but the operations should normalize with the opening of more COVID-19 wards.
For his part, Bernadas did not question the decision of the IATF to place Cebu under MECQ, but he assured the public that the situation has improved compared to the last week of the current surge. # /rcg
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