DOH: Lanao del Sur hospitals equipped amid concerns of COVID-19 spike as residents return

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2020 02:03 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said Lanao del Sur has enough hospital beds and facilities if cases spike, in response to local officials' concern that returning residents may bring in the virus. 

“Sa ngayon sa Lanao Del Sur nakita natin ang kaso, nakita rin natin 'yung kapasidad ng health system and we can say kaya nila kung saka-sakaling tumaas ang mga kaso,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a media briefing on Wednesday morning.

(Right now, we’ve seen the cases of Lanao del Sur and we also saw the capacity of their health system and we can say that if their cases increase, they can manage it.)

On Monday, Lanao del Sur Vice Governor Mohammad Khalid Adiong requested for more manpower such as police, soldiers and health workers because of fears they won’t be able to manage the increase in COVID-19 cases if returning residents turn out to be virus carriers.

Adiong explained that all of their active cases in the province are from the Hatid Tulong program of the government, or residents who returned after being stranded elsewhere because of the COVID-19 lockdown. 

ABS-CBN News earlier reported that Lanao del Sur is among the 6 provinces that saw at least a doubling in its active cases. From 0 cases on June 7, their active cases went up to 7. 

Topping that list is Leyte, which saw a spike in cases from just 9 on June 7 to 71 on June 14, reportedly because of the Balik Probinsya program of the government. 

Before the Balik Probinsya program was suspended in favor of bringing home stranded tourists, students and overseas Filipino workers, some mayors complained because of the lack of coordination of the national government.

Vergeire confirmed that of the 16 total cases in Lanao del Sur, 6 have recovered, 3 have died and 6 are considered active.

She said that the province has more than 100 beds allotted for community quarantine facilities but are not occupied at the moment. She said the 12 intensive care unit beds and mechanical ventilators in the province are also unoccupied.

“Their health system has sufficient capacity,” Vergeire said, adding that the DOH would be ready to help the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s Ministry of Health.