The city continues to aggressively work on the continuously increasing its quarantine and isolation bed capacities to accommodate the increasing number of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases not only in the city but also in nearby Benguet.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong reported the Eurotel management already allowed the use of its 140-bed hotel in the city as a quarantine and isolation facility which will be in addition to the city’s existing isolation units to prevent possible congestion that might lead to the local health care system being compromised.
The use of the Eurotel as a quarantine facility will be in addition to the already operational 60-bed Ferioni apartment along Teodora Alonzo St. as one of the city’s quarantine facility initially for individuals who are awaiting the release of their swab test results from the private and public testing centers.
At present, City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo reported that the current utilization of the city’s 323-bed isolation facilities at the former Sto. Niño Hospital and at the Baguio Teachers Camp is already over 57 percent.
Further, she said that even the isolation and intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the private hospitals are also within the warning to danger zones thus the need for additional isolation facilities for suspected and probable COVID cases.
The Sto. Niño Hospital has an initial capacity of 95 beds with the provision to increase the same to 300 beds while the Roxas Hall, Hernandez Hall and Superintendent’s Quarters at the Baguio Teachers Camp have a combined capacity of 228 beds.
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña disclosed that with the P8 million fund grant from the public works department, the city plans to increase the existing capacity of the former Sto. Niño Hospital to 300 and even up to 400 depending on the prevailing needs of confirmed COVID patients who are required to undergo isolation.
However, he added that workers of the contractor are also observing utmost care in the prosecution of ongoing works because of the presence of positive COVID patients in their work area but efforts are being done to ensure the timely completion of the improvement and increase in bed capacity.
Aside from the existing isolation and quarantine facilities, the city administrator disclosed the city will also be putting up a 20-bed isolation center near the central triage center at the Baguio Convention Center (BCC) compound for the isolation requirements of individuals who will test positive for COVID in the triage facility while awaiting the necessary medical interventions or transfer to the appropriate health facility.
The expenses for the operation of the additional quarantine and isolation facilities in the city, such as the Ferioni apartments and the Eurotel, will be shouldered by the national task force on COVID-19.
The mayor assured the city will continue to work on exploring other feasible quarantine and isolation facilities to accommodate the possible increase in the number of patients who will have to be confined to prevent the spread of the deadly virus in the city. By Dexter A. See