Oxygen tanks selling fast in Cebu City as COVID patients continue to line up in hospitals

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital | August 02,2021 - 03:56 PM
oxygen tanks

A man loads up an oxygen tank to a cab in Cebu City. Oxygen tanks are selling like hotcakes as COVID-19 patients continue to line up in hospitals here. CDN Digital photo | Morexette Marie B. Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Aside from beds intended for COVID-19 hospitals, oxygen tanks here are also running out fast.

Oxygen tanks were sold out in just a span of a few hours in a pharmacy and medical supply store along B. Rodriguez Street, Cebu City on Monday, August 2, 2021. 

Kevin Kates Revelo, sales clerk of Sanjo Medipharma Philippines., told reporters they sold all their existing stock of 38 oxygen tanks on Monday.

As a result, their management decided to order a new batch of oxygen tanks to cater to the demand. 

The tanks that remained on display in their establishment were already reserved and due for pick-up by their respective buyers, Revelo said. 

The biggest tanks they sell, weighing 50 pounds and containing 40 liters of oxygen, cost around 8,950. One tank, with non-stop use, lasts for a day. 

“Since last week, everyone’s been busy due to an increase demand in oxygen tanks. Most of the buyers here are relatives of COVID patients admitted in Chong Hua Hospital,” said Revelo in Cebuano. 

The pharmacy is just a five-minute walk away from Chong Hua Hospital near the Fuente Osmeña Rotunda in Cebu City, where ambulances and even private vehicles carrying either suspected or COVID-19 patients were seen lining up outside their emergency ward waiting to be admitted. 

But patients are not only crowding in Chong Hua Hospital. Other privately owned hospitals in the capital are also experiencing the same situation, albeit manifested differently. 

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that COVID-19 critical care utilization rate for both public and private hospitals in Cebu City, as of July 31, is already at 56.7 percent. 

Hospital occupancy rates are used to gauge an area’s capacity to respond to a surge of new COVID cases. Rates going beyond 60 percent are often considered alarming by health experts. 

“This (oxygen tanks selling fast) just goes to show that our hospitals are full,” said Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak. 

As a result, Tumulak appealed from the national government to provide help. 

Cebu City has been placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) from August 1 to August 15. 

/bmjo

READ MORE: ‘Last resort’: Desperate for oxygen, Indian hospitals go to court

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TAGS: Chong Hua Hospital, COVID-19, Department of Health, oxygen tanks, Sanjo Medipharma Philippines, third wave

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