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No middle-ground

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The national IATF has already decided that they will ignore the call made by doctors to place Bacolod under ECQ as “it is not practical anymore.”

The business groups as expected, also came out with their statement that they are against the re-imposition of ECQ and stressed on the need to balance reducing the rate of infections and its impact on the economy.

Thus, the solution was partial lockdown on parts of the city where there are confirmed cases and hope that the barangays will get serious in monitoring and ensuring that those who are positive are immediately taken out of the area and placed in quarantine facilities while those who are part of the contact-tracing list must remain in home isolation until their tests reveal otherwise.

National IATF Chair Carlito Galvez was in Iloilo yesterday to meet with the Western Visayas Regional COVID-19 task force and said that LGUs should only implement “surgical ECQ” in affected areas. So far, 10 barangays have pockets of lockdown areas here.

Just a few houses away from my sister’s place, a family has been placed on lockdown and only assigned tanods are allowed to hand them goods from outside. The infected family member, a nurse, has been removed from the domicile and brought to a quarantine facility.

A media colleague, Dolly Yasa, also posted assistance from neighbors and friends after they’ve been placed on home quarantine when one of her siblings, a city government employee, was among those infected.

Although down-time for test results have been shortened, three to four days of not knowing one is infected still gives a high probability of spreading the virus unknowingly. Thus, it is a must to keep those who were swabbed isolated until their results are out.

I already knew that granting an ECQ is farfetched because our situation has not reached the gravity that Cebu had when government came in to impose ECQ there. However, I expected at least some measures that will specifically allay the fears of the medical community, yet none was given.

Galvez focused more on the socio-economic impact effects of another lockdown saying “we do not need more collateral as economy is already down.”

What about the human collateral? Or is he just as wasted as that spokesperson of the president who downplayed our COVID-19 numbers since we ONLY have 2,000 deaths so far?

The doctors’ plea stemmed from the fact that there are many health workers who have been infected with the virus and apart from a few hospitals that are capable of handling critical COVID-19 cases, the danger of our health facilities getting overwhelmed is real because of rising local transmission cases in our city.

And the doctors are right because records now show that more than 50 percent of our cases are already local transmissions and not anymore from repatriates.

If we do not implement strict health protocols then it may be just days before this balloons to a community transmission. And lest we forget, we still have hundreds of LSIs about to arrive, including some that will be coming from the jam-packed Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Some hospitals have already shut down parts of their departments because of infection among personnel. Yet there was no mention of how health facilities and frontlines should be assisted in the event that cases will continue to rise, as it will.

Neither the national IATF, the city government nor the business sector offered specific solutions that directly answers the needs of the medical community. All they mentioned were reiteration of implementing strict health protocols, though now with corresponding fines for violators.

No one gave recommendations on how hospitals will deal with COVID and non-COVID patients when they have dwindling personnel due to infection or have been quarantined. The public are not even informed as to how many of these medical personnel have been sidelined because of COVID. Yet, there is no help forthcoming from the IATF or the city and provincial government to hire more medical personnel to replace those who are out of commission at the moment.

Three doctors at the Teresita Jalandoni Provincial Hospital are indisposed because they were found to be positive. Among them is a doctor that moonlighted at another private hospital where he got infected from a patient that failed to disclose his history.

That doctor, apart from being sick at the moment, has been issued a show-cause order as to why he defied the governor’s memo prohibiting moonlighting. Some view this as penalizing one who has no choice but to stay true to his Hippocratic Oath. Others of course also understand why the provincial government did what it had to do.

But what the LGUs fail to realize is that medical consultants from public hospitals have their own private practice to take care of and when a patient needs help, you are bound to assist wherever that takes place. If government, be it the LGU or DOH, will strictly implement the no moonlighting policy, believe me, there won’t be any consulting doctors left to take care of your patients.
I hope it doesn’t reach that point as I’ve heard from the grapevine that many will seriously do that.*


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November 2023

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