'Kulang na kulang': Doctors work overtime in Laguna as COVID-19 cases rise

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2020 10:38 AM | Updated as of Aug 04 2020 02:10 PM

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MANILA - Doctors in Laguna are working overtime as most hospitals in its virus-hit districts have reached full capacity, its governor said Tuesday as the province went on a 2-week modified lockdown along with virus epicenter Metro Manila.

Majority of virus patients were from the province's "heavily-populated" first and second districts where industries and businesses can be found, Gov. Ramil Hernandez said.

Healthworkers are sometimes working double shifts with shorter hours in one day to tend to patients, he said.

"Kulang na kulang po. Ang tagal na po kami naghahanap ng new applicants pero wala nag-apply," Hernandez told ANC. "May galing sa DOH na binababa sa'min nakakatulong po 'yan. Kokonti lang po talaga ang nag-apply."

(We lack healthworkers. We've been hiring but no one is applying. The DOH has sent some personnel and they have helped but still there are few applicants.)

"Wala ho talaga tayong magawa kundi mag-overtime ang mga doctors, dumadaing nga po ang ating mga doctors pero hindi naman po sila nag-a-abandon ng kanilang trabaho."

(We can't do anything. Our doctors go on overtime. They complain but they don't abandon their jobs.)

The province has also hired nursing aides due to the lack of nurse applicants, Hernandez said.

Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla earlier urged local governments with few virus cases to lend their medical workers to the virus epicenter and nearby areas to help address the pandemic's spread.

"The more we solve it here in the Greater Metro Manila area, the less they have a chance it will spread to their province. This is ground zero and all resources, especially to frontliners, must be devoted to this area," he said.

No COVID-19 cases among healthworkers have been reported recently, Hernandez said as he assured the public of enough supply of protective gears.

An inspection team has been formed to examine companies as businesses have been reporting virus cases, the governor said.

"Karaniwan nakikita namin ay 'yung distancing talaga atsaka pagtatanggal ng face mask during break time, 'yung shuttle buses na over 50 percent," he said.

"Nirecommend na rin natin sa companies gawin nilang packed lunch para di pipila sa canteen yung mga tao. Pinagbawal na rin smoking sa loob ng kompanya kasi pagka may smoking area nagiging area para magtipon-tipon."

Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan will be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until Aug. 18.

President Rodrigo Duterte restricted movement in these areas after health workers called for a "breathing space" as cases of COVID-19 breached the 100,000-mark.

The DOH earlier said it would meet with the Alliance of Health Care Professionals on Friday to "recalibrate the current strategy against COVID-19" following medical frontliners' cry for assistance.

The Philippines as of Monday reported 106,330 cases of COVID-19, with 65,821 recoveries and 2,104 deaths.