Temporary closure of several isolation units studied

Temporary closure of several isolation units studied

The City Health Services Office (CHSO) is currently studying the possibility of temporarily suspending the operation of several established isolation units to save on cost following the continued decline on Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the city over the past several weeks.

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo reported that the occupancy of the 939-bed isolation units dropped to only 13 percent or around 140 occupied isolation beds of the existing beds in the different units around the city.

She disclosed that at the height of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases triggered by the more infections and more transmissible Omicron variant, the occupancy rate of the different isolation centers reached over 70 percent that compelled the local government to request for the re-opening of the isolation centers that were earlier closed last year following the easing up of restrictions with the decline in cases after the emergence of the Delta variant in September and October.

On the other hand, Galpo reported that the health care utilization rate of the different public and private hospitals in the city dropped to only 54 percent from a high of at least 90 percent during the height of the surge caused by the Omicron variant last month that placed the city under moderate health risk classification.

According to her, the COVID-19 situation in the city will likely improve in the coming weeks with the expected increase in recoveries as the quarantine and isolation periods have been reduced thus decongesting the isolation units and even the health facilities.

The city health officer disclosed that some personnel in the isolation units have already been pulled out to help in the sustained implementation of the tele-medicine and the home care program so that more patients who are undergoing home quarantine will be given appropriate attention.

Further, Galpo reported that some of the health workers in the isolation units were tapped to help in the ongoing implementation of the government’s mass vaccination program for the city to inoculate more unvaccinated individuals even if the targeted percentage of the population had been achieved last year.

The medical officer stipulated that the city government will be maintaining the operation of the 350-bed capacity Baguio City Community Isolation Unit based at the former Sto. Nino hospital for future patients requiring its services.

Galpo appealed to the public to continue their adherence to the minimum public health standards such as  the mandatory wearing of face masks, observance of physical distancing and the practice of personal hygiene and disinfection to prevent the further transmission of the deadly virus which might again cause another surge in cases that could compromise the local health care system and unduly stress the frontliners who had been painstakingly working for the welfare of COVID-19 patients over the past 2 year. – Dexter A. See