The increasing number of coronavirus disease cases in Cebu has greatly alarmed the Department of Health in Central Visayas. Now, the department has decided to deploy more medical frontliners to help in fighting this pandemic in the province.

DOH7-7 Regional Director, Dr. Jaime Bernadas shared that the Center for Health Development in Region VII has already deployed 50 registered nurses and 100 underboard physicians – Medicine graduates who will serve as postgraduate interns under the close supervision of licensed doctors. This is in response to the shortage of healthcare workers in the private hospitals as a result of the lay-off of medical personnel after these private hospitals experienced a downturn of admissions at the beginning of the pandemic. About thirty percent of the inventory of regular beds has dropped because these private hospitals are already understaffed.

According to Bernadas, the admission to these private hospitals before COVID-19 was very low however because of the pandemic, admission of patients has dramatically increased in just two weeks. Now, all beds and intensive care units allocated for COVID-19 patients have become fully occupied.

The Department of Health is said to shoulder the honorarium and medical benefits of the deployed medical nurses and underboard physicians. Guidelines for the activation of these nurses and physicians were already set.

On the other hand, the Department Secretary reminded local barangay officials to still follow the protocols in with regards to COVID-19 patients to medical facilities by referring first to the operations center supervised by the DOH-7 and the Regional Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases if coronavirus patients are discovered in the locality. Barangay officials are prevented from sending patients to hospitals without the knowledge of the operations center.

In addition, the barangay isolation centers must be duly utilized for asymptomatic persons who are experience only mild and moderate symptoms in order to prevent the swamping of patients in the hospitals. As of June 22, 2020, DOH-7 Medical Officer, Dr. Von Philip Baton has reported a total number of 1,780 patients who are undergoing isolation in the barangay isolation centeres.

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