Puerto Princesa in Palawan province needs more health care workers to tend to patients with COVID-19 amid a recent uptick, the city's mayor said on Friday.
The city had about 25 active cases last April 4, said Mayor Lucilo Bayron. Active infections have jumped to 413, according to the Puerto Princesa information office's Facebook post.
While hotels can be converted to quarantine facilities, Bayron said the shortage in health workers has been a big problem.
“Ang malaking problema, iyong kakulangan ng mga health care, medical practitioners na magha-handle ng mga isolation and quarantine facility.”
(The big problem is the shortage of health care, medical practitioners who handle isolation and quarantine facilities.)
Some medical frontliners in the city have caught COVID-19 or are in isolation due to exposure to the virus, the mayor said in a televised public briefing.
“May mga quarantine facility kami na ang services ay hindi na katulad nang nagsimula kami kasi medyo na-spread too thinly iyong mga health care workers namin,” he said.
(We have quarantine facilities where the service is no longer as good as when we started because our health care workers are spread too thin.)
The local government has asked for help from the Palawan Medical Society, while the health department promised to send nurses and a doctor to Puerto Princesa, Bayron said.
Hospitals in the city are full, and patients usually wait 1 to 2 days for admission, he said.
WHAT CAUSED SPIKE?
Authorities, he said, could not pinpoint where the spike in infections started.
The Puerto Princesa underground river, the city's top tourist attraction, is open. However, few tourists are visiting, said Bayron.
“Hindi natin siguro masabi na iyong turista ang nagdala rito,” he said.
(We cannot say that tourists brought it.)
“Ang puwede talagang patunayan dito, masyado talagang malakas makahawa itong COVID-19 kaya umabot kami sa ganitong situation.”
(What we can only prove is that COVID-19 is contagious, which is why we reached this situation.)
The city's vaccination drive has only one venue so far, its coliseum, which services about 500 to 600 people daily, Bayron said.
“Nababagalan kami kasi nga gusto naming masiguro na iyong mga bakuna, mga darating na bakuna na may expiry date, makatulong kami na ma-dispose iyon,” he shared.
(We find it slow because we want to ensure that when vaccines with an expiry date arrive, we can help dispose them.)
Authorities are negotiating to add as inoculation venues 3 malls, 2 of which have said they are willing to lend their facilities, he said.
“Ang mahalaga lang sana, makatapos na kami dito sa vaccination na tinututukan namin ngayon para malagpasan namin itong problemang ito,” said the mayor.
(What is important is we finish this vaccination on which we are focusing, so that we can overcome this problem.)
Puerto Princesa is under the second loosest quarantine level until the end of May.