BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia has asked the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 to deploy more nurses to local hospitals as the city government continues to strengthen efforts to reduce local cases of the coronavirus.
City Administrator Em Ang, who was tasked by the mayor to formalize the request through a letter, said yesterday that Bacolod is requesting 288 more nurses.
Ang, who also sits as executive director of the Emergency Operations Center, said chances are high that the mayor’s request for augmentation of nursing personnel will be granted since Maj. Gen. Melquiades Feliciano, the deputy implementer of the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force-Visayas, had committed to endorse the request.
On Wednesday, Leonardia said he asked National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., to send more nurses to the city based on the request of hospital directors, adding that he was “quite positive” that Bacolod would be “given priority” considering its current Covid-19 situation and the recent passage of the Bayanihan 2 Act.
“Let’s shoot for the stars, but let’s also be realistic. It may not probably be 100 percent. What’s important is, we have already established how many nurses we need,” he added.
Ang met with the directors of nursing service of the different hospitals in Bacolod City on Thursday to discuss concerns on the shortage of nurses who will work in Covid-19 isolation rooms.
She said the Department of Health in Western Visayas and the local government are looking to hire more nurses, adding that there is need to augment private hospitals with the needed manpower so that they can operate in full capacity.
The DOH Region 6 posted on its website that it is hiring public health associates, including nurses, who will be assigned to Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Negros Occidental. The contract period will be from October to December 31, 2020, with a monthly salary of P32,053.
Ang reiterated that the city has enough beds and equipment, but has a shortage of nurses, adding that all hospitals have a similar concern.
Nurses are either under quarantine, had resigned, or their families won’t allow them to return to work, she said.
Right now, nurses are given incentives, especially those assigned in Covid wards, she said, adding they have more compensation and benefits.
They are also provided with personal protective equipment and other health gear to ensure safety, she said.
She added there are also quarantine facilities for affected nurses.
Ang said private hospitals have also matched the salaries given by government-run hospitals due to the shortage of manpower.
400 COVID PATIENTS
Ang said the city already extracted the more than 400 Covid-19 patients, who have gone on quarantine in their homes.
Home quarantine was disallowed to curb the spread of the virus among family members and the community.
Ang said, “We only have a few backlogs. Just single digit. Some of those can’t be located because they give out wrong personal information.”
Meanwhile, the DOH Region 6 reported last night that Bacolod has 44 new cases, 273 recoveries, and five deaths, while Negros Occidental has 132 new cases, 62 recoveries, and two fatalities.
For Negros Occidental, the Provincial Health Office reported that the province has a total of 2,430 cases as of yesterday, with 1,420 active cases, 962 recoveries, and 48 fatalities.*with reports from PNA