Governor Melchor Diclas said due to the surge in cases, the Benguet General Hospital is reaching its full capacity, while some district hospitals and the existing Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities have already reached their full capacity.
Provincial Health Office Rural Health Unit Physician Dr. Jocelyn Legazpi reported the surge in COVID cases for the past 14 days during the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force meeting on March 29.
Buguias which recorded a high of 136 cases is considered under critical epidemic risk level while La Trinidad(233 active cases), Mankayan(61), and Atok(52) are at high epidemic risk level.
Diclas attributed the increase in cases to the traditional holding of long wakes which gather many people and who also dine together. Likewise people are seen to be more relaxed and not complying with health protocols such as wearing of face mask, face shield and washing of hands and also social distancing.
But for Atok, Mayor Raymundo Sarac attributed this to tourists visiting the area who drop by establishments along the Halsema Highway as cases were noted along the highway in his town.
Meanwhile,PHO data showed that of the total positive cases, 106 patients or only 18 percent are admitted in hospitals. Those in quarantine facilities account for 19 percent or a total of 110 patients while a few or one percent are confined outside the province.
One one-fourth of the confirmed positive cases or 147 patients are on strict home quarantine awaiting for admission. A sizeable number equivalent to 217 cases or 37 percent identified as probable cases are still for verification.
Diclas said there were more deaths on COVID 19 while severe conditions due to the virus did not only inflict those with compromised health but also those who do not have any.
As per PIATF agreement to address such concerns,the holding of wake for both COVID cremated remains and non-COVID cases shall be limited to only three days, and that all the 13 towns shall pass ordinances with penal provisions on the strict compliance with the minimum health standards.
Diclas enjoined the public to bear with the guidelines as a way of preventing the further spread of the virus. He sought the cooperation and support of the barangay, municipal and provincial local governments for the strict implementation of the health protocols in order to minimize the spread of the virus.
He likewise urged the public to comply to health protocols such as the use of face mask, face shield, washing of hands as such practices would greatly reduce the transmission of the virus by 95 percent apart from observing social distancing.
Another challenge presented during the meeting is the management of cases with the delay in the confirmation of specimen since the Benguet General Hospital molecular laboratory recently bogged down, coupled with the infection of its manpower and are currently on isolation. The specimen are being brought to the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center which takes longer confirmation period. (JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet)
By Susan C. Aro