Lack of isolation facilities led to COVID-19 boom in Tuguegarao, says gov

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 11 2021 06:07 PM

MANILA - Coronavirus disease patients have resorted to home quarantine as facilities to isolate them have run short in Tuguegarao, leading to an uptick in COVID-19 cases, an official said Tuesday. 

Cagayan’s governor said local officials have repeatedly refused to put up quarantine facilities, even as the provincial government allocated a P100,000 budget.

"Puno na nga po ang ibang ospital eh ang pag-asa lang ang isolation centers ng barangay. ‘Yun ang ginawa namin sa 28 other towns. 'Yung mga eskwela ginawang isolation center ang nagmaman nila volunteers… Ina-isolate ang symptomatic walang sakit pakakainin lang bibgyan ng tulugan for 14 days,” Cagayan governor Manuel Mamba, who is a licensed physician, said in an interview with TeleRadyo. 

(Hospitals are full and our only hope is isolation centers ofbarangays. That’s what we did with 28 other towns, schools were converted into isolation centers, which are manned by volunteers. We isolate asymptomatic patients, feed them, and let them have a place to stay for 14 days.) 

The entire Cagayan province, and three other areas under Northern Luzon under modified enhanced community quarantine, the second strictest COVID-19 classification level imposed by the government to curb virus spread. 

Mamba said lack of isolation facilities has been a problem “for the past six months."

“Matagal bago naging ganito ang 60 percent po niyan, ay sa Tuguegarao City. Makikita niyo na magiging problema ang Tuguegarao… Ang nakita nating culprit ay home quarantine dahil wala silang COVID-19 isolation centers sa bara-barangay. Seventy to 80 percent ng kanilang cases ay nasa home quarantine po. So na-overwhelm ang ating mga ospital dito, including ang COVID-19 referral facility na Cagayan Valley Medical Center, nasa Tuguegarao City po,” Mamba said. 

(Around 60 percent of the cases are in Tuguegarao City. You can see that the problem lies in Tuguegarao. We consider home quarantine as the culprit because they lack barangay isolation centers. Around 70 to 80 percent of the patients are in home quarantine. As a result, our hospitals became overwhelmed, and most of our hospitals in Cagayan Valley are also in Tuguegarao City.) 

Cagayan, Apayao, and Benguet (excluding Baguio City) were recently placed under MECQ. 

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Tuguegarao has 1,056 of Cagayan’s 1,893 active cases - comprising of about 60 percent of the province’s COVID-19 patients. 

He also claimed that the City Health Office refused to use the isolation facilities put up in Tuguegarao unless they were accredited by PhilHealth. PhilHealth accreditation warrants an extra P22,000 budget per patient staying in an isolation facility. 

He also sought the help of Mayor Jefferson Soriano and other local officials but claimed this fell on deaf ears. 

“Si mayor ang ayaw,” he said.

(It’s the mayor that does not want to do it.) 

Mamba earlier said the COVID-19 response of the city has been politicized as cases continued to rise in the area. 

Asked if they had a disagreement, he answered: "Bakit kaya ko po makipagtungo sa 28 other mayors diba? Bakit diba? Eh hindi po politika ito. Kahit hindi ako iboto ng taga-Tuguegarao wala pong problema sa akin."

(Why can I easily coordinate with the 28 other mayors, this is not political. Even if people in Tuguegarao do not vote for me, I do not have a problem with that.)