Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said that like many hospitals, treatment facilities and local governments all over the country, Bacolod City is also losing a lot of health frontliners due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Leonardia, in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Noli De Castro broadcast live nationwide over DZMM and the Kapamilya Channel this morning, told the former vice president that he had already written the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH) whose assistance he sought to hire more nurses and other medical frontliners to attend to COVID cases.
“We are still awaiting DOH’s reply to our request regarding additional health workers. We also asked the health department for machines and equipment such as ventilators,” confided Leonardia, who is also the incumbent president of the League of Cities in the Philippines.
He further told de Castro he does not have the absolute number on the actual shortage of health workers but pointed out that with 275 beds allotted for COVID in various hospitals, only 230 personnel are available for now.
Hospital occupancy, he continued, has already reached critical level at 87 percent.
“That is why we already sounded the alarm bells to the DOH,” he continued.
NEW ALERT LEVEL SYSTEM
Leonardia also shared with De Castro that the new alert level system being carried out recently by the National Inter-Agency Task Force (NIATF) is not new to Bacolod City.
While Bacolod City is currently under General Community Quarantine with Heightened Restrictions (GCQ-HR) status, the DOH had placed it under Alert Level 4 together with the Province of Negros Occidental, Iloilo Province and Iloilo City, among others.
“Are you ready for this Alert Level System just in case?” De Castro asked the mayor.
“We actually have yet to receive official communications from the NIATF regarding this. But one of its features is the imposition of granular lockdowns where it is necessary as a solution to COVID spread. That is something that is not really new to us because before that NIATF policy came out, we were already doing that as the need arises. We were already closing down areas especially those with confirmed critical cases,” Leonardia explained.
COVID CASES: RISE AND FALL
Leonardia, in the same interview, said that COVID infections in Bacolod averaged 100.38 per day for the month of September.
The current rise was compensated by the fact that during the last two months, the DOH and the city’s Emergency Operations Center Task Force Against COVID, noted a slowdown in infections with daily cases averaging at only 41, he said.
“It’s this Delta variant although we don’t have an official word from DOH yet. It is apparently already the Delta variant in action,” he pointed out.
Leonardia said the local government had been meeting with hospitals with the occupancy rate now placed at critical level.
“We know that kulang, that’s why we’ve been meeting the hospitals, asking them kung ano ang mga kailangan nila talaga. We are trying to negotiate with the DOH. We already made our official request for health workers and even machines and equipment like ventilators and, at the same time, we are also capacitating our temporary treatment facilities in case kulang ang hospitals. At least may secondary facility kami,” the mayor said.
Leonardia disclosed that Bacolod City, through the EOC and the COVID-19 Vaccination Council, had already fully inoculated almost 280,000 residents or 30 percent of the population targeted for vaccination.
Thankfully, he said, Bacolod continues to receive its supply of vaccines that’s why the LGU was able to step up its vaccination drive.*