MANILA - Government and private hospitals in Puerto Princesa City are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and is grappling with a shortage in health care workers, its mayor said Thursday.
Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron said 59 COVID-19 patients are currently admitted at the Ospital ng Palawan, one over capacity. In two private hospitals, there are only 14 beds allocated for COVID-19 cases, while in another with 7 beds for coronavirus cases, 12 are already admitted.
In an interview on TeleRadyo, Bayron said sometimes the waiting period for COVID patients for admission could take about two days.
“Yung mga gustong magpaospital na may malalang symptoms hindi agad matanggap ng mga hospitals kasi puno 'yung mga hospitals. Kung minsan, inaabot ng 2 days, kung sinusuwerte, 1 day natatanggap na rin,” he said.
(Those who want to be admitted to the hospital because of severe symptoms can't be accommodated because the hospitals are already full. Sometimes it takes 2 days, and for the lucky ones, one day.)
The city is also waiting for reinforcement from the Department of Health for additional health workers.
“'Yung DOH may mga vacant na position sa iba’t ibang lugar, inaapura naman nila na ma-fill up nila para mapadala rito, pero 'yung hiring matagal,” he said.
(The Department of Health has vacant positions in other areas, they are rushing to fill those slots so they can be sent here, but hiring takes time.)
Bayron said they are also asking for additional COVID-19 vaccines, especially now that there is an increase in the number of virus cases in the city.
“Mabilis kasing magbakuna dito, paubos na. 'Yung napadalang bakuna ngayong araw na ito puro second dose na lang 'yun, wala nang pang first dose. Humihingi na kami ng karagdagang bakuna,” he said.
(Our vaccination is going fast. The vaccines sent here are already for the second dose, no more for first dose injections. We are asking for more.)
The city needs to vaccinate around 180,000 to 200,000, he said.
“Inaasahan namin na maapura ang pagpapadala dito kasi may surge kami ng COVID,” he said.
(We are expecting that the supply will be sent fast because we have a COVID surge.)
Meanwhile, Bayron hopes that the two new molecular laboratories in Palawan would soon operate to further boost COVID testing. Combined, the labs could handle 500 tests daily on a regular 8-hour shift but could do more if the hours are extended, he said.
Bayron said COVID-19 testing in the city is erratic as their current RT-PCR laboratory could only accommodate 120 tests per day.
“May inaantay na equipment, dumating na 'yung equipment, naikabit na kahapon at kailangang i-test ngayon. Pag natapos ang testing hihingan ng accreditation para mabigyan ng permit to operate,” he said.
(We were waiting for some equipment, it has arrived and it was installed yesterday, we just need to test. After testing, it needs accreditation so we can issue a permit to operate.)
The City Information Department reported a total of 2,085 COVID-19 cases, including 601 active infections, as of Wednesday.