THE City Governments of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu scrambled to provide additional beds as their primary isolation facilities filled up amid the continuing increase in coronavirus infections.
In Cebu City, Councilor Donaldo Hontiveros said the New Normal Oasis for Adaptation and a Home (Noah) Complex in the South Road Properties had 362 occupants, including 22 babies, as of Friday, Feb. 5, 2021.
The facility had a capacity of 360, but Hontiveros said they have added 90 beds to accommodate more coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients.
Hontiveros, Noah assistant manager, said Department of Health Central Visayas (DOH 7) Director Jaime Bernadas authorized them to increase capacity to 450 beds.
On Friday, Feb. 5, Cebu City recorded 140 new cases, pushing the number of active cases to 1,958, the highest in Central Visayas. Except on Feb. 1, new cases have been exceeding 100 a day since Jan. 28.
Only 15 barangays, out of 80, have had no infections in the recent 14 days. The other 65 barangays have active cases.
In Lapu-Lapu City, two buildings in Lapu-Lapu City College that are being used as isolation facilities for asymptomatic coronavirus-positive individuals were fully occupied with a total of 190 patients.
As a result, some individuals who yielded positive results on Feb. 4 were advised to temporarily undergo home quarantine, according to Misaelle Tejano, executive secretary of Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan.
Another building at the city college could have been used as isolation facility, but Tejano said this does not have electricity.
Beginning Feb. 5, the basketball court of the Hoops Dome arena was designated as a holding area for asymptomatic patients. Tejano said this can accommodate 100 to 150 people.
Beds will be provided and a nurse will be assigned there. A closed circuit television (CCTV) system will also be installed.
Tejano assured that there will be no interaction between the patients and employees of offices within the arena.
“As soon as a bed becomes available at the city college, we will transfer a patient from the Hoops Dome. Those with mild and moderate symptoms will be housed in the building across (Hoops Dome),” she said.
The active cases in Lapu-Lapu City more than doubled in just one week to 327 on Feb. 4 from 146 on Jan. 28.
Total cases in Cebu City increased to 13,187 on Friday, including 702 deaths and 10,527 recoveries.
Schools as BICs
Meanwhile, Department of Education (DepEd) 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said the teachers and personnel of public schools that will be re-commissioned as barangay isolation centers (BICs) will temporarily report for work in other schools nearby.
He said this would not be a problem since DepEd schools are near each other in Cebu City.
For instance, if the City uses the Pardo Elementary School as a BIC, its teachers and personnel will temporarily resume their work at the Pardo Elementary School-Extension.
If the City uses the City Central Elementary School, then the staff will temporarily move to Regino Mercado National High School in Barangay Pahina Central.
Jimenez said, however, that schools should be considered as a last resort.
“Only when all government facilities have been used will schools be used as BICs. We could not say no because of the (increasing) number (of cases),” he added.
He said permission to use the schools would be needed from the regional office. He said he gave instructions to Cebu City Division Superintendent Rhea Mar Angtud.
Earlier, Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera said they had sought permission from the DepEd Cebu City Division to reopen schools as BICs.
Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center, said the schools in Barangays Pardo, City Central and Guadalupe will be opened within the week while other schools were being identified in coordination with the Local School Board.
Garganera said 30 rooms from each school will be used for Covid-19 patients.
As to utilities, Jimenez said the City Government will shoulder the electricity and water expenses while the schools are used as BICs.
“Even the repair and the preparation of the schools must be compliant with Department of Health standards,” he said.
Jimenez said 13 DepEd 7 schools were previously used as BICs at the peak of the Covid-19 epidemic in Cebu City in 2020.
In January 2021, elementary schools in Barangay Mabolo, Labangon and Zapatera were reopened as BICs. / JJL / GCM / WBS