Cebu City seeking more health workers, as virus cases soar: acting mayor


Posted at Aug 03 2021 08:57 AM | Updated as of Aug 03 2021 11:23 AM

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MANILA (UPDATE)—Cebu City needs more health workers to deal with rising COVID-19 cases, acting mayor Michael Rama said on Tuesday, as three hospitals in the city were now full.

"Nananawagan ako as acting mayor mismo sa whole island of Cebu kasi marami pa namang nurses at medical staff na hindi nagtatrabaho na," Rama told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo, without identifying which hospitals have reached their capacity. 

(As acting mayor, I'm appealing to the whole island of Cebu, because many nurses and medical staff have no work.)

"Let them go out and bring their sense of volunteerism para di na tayo nagwo-worry (so we don't have to worry) on counting dead people."

The city will be opening its field hospitals in the "days to come" to reduce the number of virus patients in medical facilities, Rama said.

"We’ll be doing it sa'ming malaking sports complex that will be bringing (in) asymptomatic, mild and perhaps moderate para ang mga ospital natin ma-reduce ang pagka-overwhelmed," he added.

(We'll be doing it on our big sports complex and we'll bring asymptomatic, mild and perhaps moderate patients to reduce the number of cases in hospitals.)

The city as of Monday recorded 1,947 active COVID-19 cases out of a total 31,003 infections.

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Dr. Helen Madamba, chief implementer of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center COVID-19 Health Facility, said Cebu was experiencing a virus resurgence amid the presence of the highly contagious Delta variant.

"I think it's safe to say there is a surge because the current number of COVID-positive patients has surpassed the number during the second wave. So, there is a surge," she said in a mix of Filipino and English.

VSMMC currently has 144 coronavirus-positive patients, of which many are severe and critical cases. The tally includes 13 asymptomatic and 28 mild cases.

Most of the patients, Madamba said, are unvaccinated against the respiratory disease.

In response to increasing COVID-19 infections, the hospital is expanding its ICU beds from 24 to 79.

"We are continually looking for other areas in the wards that we can convert to ICU," she said.

Doctors from other departments are now also helping manage COVID-19 patients while recruitment for medical workers continues.

Since the pandemic began, VSMMC has recorded 3,099 COVID-19-positive patients, of which 1,313 have recovered while 765 have died from the illness.

From Aug. 1 to 15, Cebu City is under modified enhanced community quarantine while general community quarantine with heightened restrictions is implemented in Cebu Province.

Madamba urged the public to refrain from going out if it's unnecessary.

"Kahit anong quarantine status ang ibigay ng gobyerno, nasa tao talaga 'yung effectivity ng quarantine status. To those who don't need to go out can stay at home. It's the behavior that we need to curb," she said.

(Whatever quarantine status the government will impose, it's effectivity rests on the public...)