MANILA—Heightened restrictions will be in place until Sunday, August 8 in Iloilo City, even as the city remained under enhanced community quarantine, to curb the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, its mayor said on Tuesday.
Except for returning overseas Filipino workers, people are not allowed to travel to Iloilo City, except to work, to access medical needs, or to get vaccinated, according to an executive order signed by Mayor Jerry Treñas.
A total liquor ban has also been put in place, and only selected industries have been allowed to operate at full capacity.
In an interview on ANC’s “Rundown,” Treñas said that although the number of COVID-19 cases has started to go down, the healthcare utilization rate remained a concern.
Treñas noted that about 70% of hospital beds, intensive care unit (ICU) beds, and isolation beds in the city were occupied by patients from nearby areas, while only 30% are occupied by patients from the city.
“It’s because the patients come 30% from the city and 70% from the province. You know, I just discovered that all the hospitals in the province are Level 1, so they do not have ICU beds. So much so that all severe and moderate cases are being sent to Iloilo, unfortunately,” he said.
The mayor said hospitals in Iloilo are having a hard time increasing the number of beds allotted for COVID-19 patients, as PhilHealth have not reimbursed their expenses.
“There are 10 hospitals in Iloilo, coming to a total number of about 800 beds,” Treñas added.
“But the problem is, you know, the hospitals have issues with PhilHealth, and as long as these issues with PhilHealth are not attended to, hospitals find it difficult to open up more isolation beds and ICU beds because this will mean additional personnel.”
Treñas said the city has enough funds to provide pandemic aid for its citizens amid the hard lockdown.
While noting that his city has been doing well in vaccinating its residents against COVID-19, he also expressed hope that more jabs will arrive in their area soon as they have already run out of first doses.
“We are continuing with our vaccination. We do about 11,000-15,000 a day. We have run out already of first doses. Secretary Vince (Dizon, COVID-19 testing czar) & Secretary Galvez (COVID-19 vaccine czar) are telling us that they will be sending us Moderna & Sinovac. That will give us enough vaccines for first doses next week.”