Bontoc virus surge leads to shortage in hospital beds, emergency hiring of healthworkers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2021 08:49 AM | Updated as of Jan 26 2021 08:52 AM

Bontoc, Mountain Province in this photo taken on November 25, 2017. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The surge of COVID-19 cases in Bontoc town, Mt Province has led to a shortage in hospital beds and healthcare workers, an official said Tuesday.

A new building intended for drug rehabilitation will be used to accommodate 75 mild and asymptomatic patients, said Dr. Ruby Constantino, director of the Cordillera Center for Health Development.

The province is awaiting go-signal for the emergency hiring of more healthworkers, she added.

"As of the report po kahapon, 'yung kanilang hospital, Bontoc General Hospital, ay talagang puno na, pati ang kanilang TTMF (temporary treatment and monitoring facility)," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

"Actually as per report po kahapon merong 6 na healthcare workers sa Bontoc na nagka-COVID din po."

(As per the report yesterday, there were 6 healthcare workers who have contracted COVID-19).

The Department of Health earlier confirmed local transmission of the new and more transmissible COVID-19 variant in Bontoc town, following 12 reported cases.

"Hindi pa naman po sinasabi na may community transmission. Localized po. Premature po para magsabi na may (community) transmission kasi 'yung mga kaso po natin naka-concentrate lamang po sa 4 na barangay," Constantino said.

(We cannot say that there's a community transmission already. It's localized. It's premature to say there's community transmission if the cases are concentrated in only 4 barangays.)

The local government is expected to extend for another 2 weeks its lockdown on 4 affected barangays, according to Constantino.

"Sabi nga po ng LGU magi-issue ulit ang local chief executive ng executive order para ma-extend ng another 2 weeks ang lockdown," she said.

(The local government unit said its chief executive will issue an order to extend the lockdown for another 2 weeks.)

The local government has yet to make an announcement.

Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey has issued free mass testing in several barangays and ordered the mandatory testing of government workers.

Odsey and Vice Mayor Eusebio Kabluyen have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The town has reported 413 COVID-19 cases, with 195 active infections as of Monday, Constantino said.

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