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City prepares for post-holiday Covid surge

BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III

“We have systems and processes in place,” Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy for medical of the Bacolod Emergency Operations Center assured yesterday as they brace for a possible post-holiday surge of coronavirus cases.

Sorongon said hospitals in Bacolod have allotted 30 percent of their bed capacities for Covid-19 patients.

As of yesterday, capacity utilization rate for Covid patients was at 27 percent, meaning that a hospital still has 73 percent available beds for those who might contract the virus after the holiday, he said.

Sorongon also said that all hospitals are on alert in anticipation of the post-holiday surge.

Earlier, Department of Health spokesperson Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire said they met with scientists and mathematicians to get a projection of the number of new cases the country may see in January and they anticipate that there might be a spike in numbers.

POST-HOLIDAYS PREPARATIONS

The EOC and representatives from the DOH, the Department of Interior and Local Government, and the National Inter-Agency Task Force met over the weekend to discuss preparations for the possible increase of cases after the holidays.

During the meeting, hospitals were reminded to allot 30 percent Covid bed capacities while Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams and the Halong Ugyon Bacolod Task Force were urged to continue their monitoring.

The EOC also ordered the continuous monitoring of malls and establishments to ensure strict compliance with minimum health protocols.

Sorongon said the EOC received plenty of complaints about violations of minimum health protocols in various establishments.

He also urged establishments to register with the BaCTrac contact tracing application.

Based on EOC records, only about 7,690 establishments and 403,846 citizens have registered with BaCTrac, as of Dec. 18.

VACCINE UPDATE

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia also had a virtual meeting with Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado recently.

Leonardia, who is the president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, said he asked Avisado if there is a possibility of a special fund allotment from the Department of Budget and Management for local government units in anticipation of the procurement of vaccines against Covid.

Avisado said they initially provided funding support of P10 billion for vaccine procurement under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

For next year, the national government will add P2.5 billion that was increased by Congress to P20 billion, although President Rodrigo Duterte said the funding will not be enough, he added.

Avisado said LGUs are not obliged to allocate funds for the purchase of vaccines as it will be shouldered by the national government. However, in case the fund is not enough, LGUs can spend for it and should handle managing the virus and providing health responses and isolation facilities., he added.*

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