Mayor denies Cebu City hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 02 2020 10:19 AM

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The mayor of Cebu City denied Thursday an observation by President Rodrigo Duterte's representative that hospitals there are overwhelmed by cases of the coronavirus disease. 

Cebu City has 4 level-3 hospitals that can respond to COVID-19 patients, including those from neighboring provinces, said Mayor Edgardo Labella. 

Some hospitals that retrenched their workforce before the pandemic also committed to increasing their personnel by 30 percent. The city will also hire 30 to 50 more nurses for public hospitals, on top of the around 70 additional doctors sent by the military and the health department, he said. 

To avoid overwhelming the hospitals with COVID-19 cases, patients with mild and moderate symptoms and those who have none are brought to quarantine facilities, where the occupancy rate is currently at 11 to 13 percent, said the mayor. 

Cebu City also converted 52 school buildings into barangay isolation facilities for asymptomatic patients, where 900 beds out of a total 2,500 are occupied, Labella said. 

"Our private hospitals are experiencing a surge in COVID cases, but at this point, it's not overwhelmed," he told ANC. 

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, who Duterte tapped to lead the pandemic response in Cebu City, recently said that hospital workers there are "overworked" and "overburdened" due to manpower shortage. 

He also said COVID-19 also spread in some of barangay isolation facilities. Their operations will be stopped and their patients will be transferred to quarantine centers, said Cimatu. 

Labella urged Cimatu to "make an actual observation" of the barangay isolation facilities because these had been inspected by the health department and had passed standards. 

ANC, July 2, 2020