Mayor calls for action to stem spate of COVID-related deaths

BAGUIO CITY  – Mayor Benjamin Magalong asked public and private medical practitioners and health experts in the city to address the spate of Coronavirus disease-related deaths.

In the Management Committee (MANCOM) meeting Jan. 4, the mayor tasked City Health Services Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo to confer with private and public medical officers along with the Dept. of Health Cordillera (DOH-CAR) and find ways to prevent more fatalities directly or indirectly caused by the virus.

He said that the more than 40 percent increase in the number of COVID-related deaths in less than one month is alarming that health authorities need to hold a focus group discussion to find solutions to stem the tide.

Galpo reported that from the 48 reported deaths in the city as of December 14, 2020, the number of COVID-related deaths increased to 71 as of January 5, 2021 or an average of one death a day in the past three weeks raising the city’s COVID-19 mortality rate to 1.77 percent.

She said most of the recent fatalities were either declared dead on arrival or brought in too late to hospitals.  They were mostly senior citizens with pre-existing illnesses, the most common of which are hypertension and diabetes.

“We cannot just leave it at that. We have to do something.  Let’s set a roadmap on how to address the death incidence and let’s arrest it,” the mayor said.

The city’s community quarantine guidelines prohibit the elderly aged 65 and above and those with co-morbidities from staying out of their homes to prevent them from being exposed to the elements and eventually contracting and transmitting the virus except for essential purposes.

“Our utmost concern now is to protect the vulnerable and they are our elderly and persons with underlying conditions so everyone must adhere to the health standards and see to it that they do not bring the virus to their homes and to their loved ones who are vulnerable,” Galpo said.

She also advised those living with the elderly and the ailing persons to have their relatives seek immediate consult early or upon the first sign or symptom noting that most families avoid medical consultations due to fear of contracting the virus at the health facilities or of hospital confinement which meant not being able to take care of their loved ones.

She said this apprehension is unfounded as hospitals and clinics have established adequate health and safety protocols and protected facilities against the virus and hospitals have staff and facilities that can attend to the patients’ needs.

“Early consultation and early detection mean early medical intervention and better chances of getting healed.  We have to seek consultation early if we want our loved ones especially the elderly to have a better chance of surviving the virus or any other disease,” Galpo said.

She also reiterated the need for strict implementation of the basic health and safety protocols is for the safety of everyone particularly the mandatory wearing of face masks and shields, the observance of physical distancing, practice of personal hygiene and avoidance of the 3 Cs (crowding, close contact conversations and confined spaces). – Dexter See and Aileen Refuerzo