Zamboanga City seeks more oxygen as COVID-19 patients swamp hospitals

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 13 2021 02:46 PM | Updated as of Oct 13 2021 04:00 PM

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MANILA — Zamboanga City is seeking more medical oxygen as a spike in COVID-19 cases drove shortages and stretched hospital resources, an official said on Wednesday. 

The southern city has tallied at least 17,882 coronavirus cases, including about 2,551 active infections, said local COVID-19 task force spokesperson Atty. Kenneth Beldua. 

Hospitals occupancy has hit critical risk at about 86 percent. The 
Zamboanga City Medical Center, a COVID-19 referral facility for the region, "has already reached its maximum capacity," he said. 

"We really have a shortage of our oxygen, which is a concern that was brought forth by the city mayor to the government," Beldua said in a televised public briefing. 

"Ito po ‘yong reason bakit po niri-refuse ng ibang mga hospitals ‘yong entry ng COVID-19 patients, because wala na po talagang supply ng oxygen," he added. 

(This is why some hospitals refuse entry to COVID-19 patients, because there is really no supply of oxygen.)

The city government has sourced raw materials for medical oxygen from Cebu and is coordinating with other suppliers, Beldua said. 

"In the coming days, we are expecting this will be addressed," he added. 

He said authorities would convert some isolation sites into step-down facilities, where patients with mild to moderate symptoms can be accommodated. 

The city government is also preparing some 900 beds in schools that will be converted into isolation facilities for patients with mild symptoms, he said. 

The national COVID-19 task force, Beldua added, is studying Zamboanga City's request to be placed under the second-strictest lockdown level from its current general community quarantine.