Senator Sonny Angara called for the establishment of more mega quarantine facilities in Region 7, especially in Cebu as the number of cases continue to rise in the various provinces in Central Visayas.
As of June 28, 2020, Region 7 has breached the 8,000 mark on the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with Cebu City accounting for 4,962 of these.
A total of 252 COVID-19 deaths have also been recorded, with 157 of these from Cebu City.
“We need to put up more mega quarantine facilities in Region 7, especially in Cebu City, which could become the country’s next COVID-19 hotspot in the country. The Department of Health should step up its response in Cebu City because the only way that we can flatten the curve is if all areas of the country are able to control the spread of the disease,” Angara said.
Angara made the call in his comments to the 13th report of Malacañang to Congress on the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act last Wednesday, June 24.
It has been reported that the health workers, particularly the nurses in Cebu City, are overworked due to the continued rise in COVID-19 cases and are asking for support from both the government and the private sector.
For the entire Cebu province, the total bed occupancy rate stands at 67.2% as of June 22. Specifically, 70.3% of isolation beds are occupied, 58.8% of ICU beds are filled up, while 60.27% of mechanical ventilators are in use.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has noted that Cebu City hospitals are already at full capacity with all ICU beds in use and 90% and 93% of isolation and ward beds respectively are occupied.
In response to this call, the IATF said that it is putting up more quarantine facilities in Cebu City.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said that he, along with Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, will go to Cebu City to look for more sites to host isolation or quarantine facilities.
A newly-constructed quarantine facility situated at the South Road Properties in Cebu City, which can accommodate more than 300 patients, was opened on Monday, June 29, 2020.
Angara also called on more hospitals in Cebu City to adopt the use of convalescent plasma therapy to treat severe cases of COVID-19.
As someone who successfully recovered from COVID-19 and was subjected to the convalescent plasma therapy, Angara has been advocating for the donation of blood plasma from fellow COVID-19 survivors and the establishment of a database linking donors to hospitals that can perform the experimental treatment.
Angara lauded the efforts undertaken by the Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital to use both convalescent plasma therapy and a hybrid therapeutic plasma exchange as possible treatments for COVID-19 patients.
The hybrid therapeutic plasma exchange involves the removal of bad plasma from a patient and replacing these with good plasma from donors.
The hospital has recorded a successful recovery from a severe COVID-19 patient using the novel treatment.