FEARING that the rising Covid-19 cases in Cebu would again take its toll on nurses, the Philippine Nurses Association-Cebu Chapter (PNA-Cebu) has appealed for a balance between economic gains and the need to uphold health standards.
“Because we do not want to repeat the unfortunate history of nurses suffering from burnout and exhaustion, we call for solidarity among the public to continue to adhere to the health and safety protocols set by the government,” said PNA-Cebu in a position paper released on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.
“We urge everyone to continue to be vigilant and avoid complacency,” the group said as they expressed concern over the “alarming rise of cases,” since the start of 2021.
“We also appeal to the government to balance economic regains and the need to uphold health standards during this time. We request for the timely provision of clear and transparent guidelines and trainings on vaccine-related procedures,” the statement further read.
“Nurses are the biggest healthcare workforce against this pandemic. Our contribution to this global healthcare burden has been valuable and remarkable in so many ways,” the group said.
The PNA-Cebu reiterated its appeal to government for the rational provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the augmentation of basic salaries and benefits, especially for nurses working in private hospitals.
“Nurses are also family members, friends and ultimately persons who equally need to be cared for. Let us show our care by fighting on the side of our nurses and other healthcare providers,” the group added.
When Cebu’s daily reported Covid-19 cases rose to three-digit numbers last year, PNA-Cebu revealed that some local nurses had wanted to quit their jobs due to low pay coupled with fears of getting infected with the virus.
Local government units like Cebu City then promised to assist nurses assigned in public and private hospitals through cash incentives.
Meanwhile, pooled tests using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technique will be conducted on taxi drivers plying Cebu City streets beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16.
Mayor Edgardo Labella said the RT-PCR tests aim to check if there are taxi drivers in Cebu City who are asymptomatic of the coronavirus disease.
Labella, in a virtual press conference on Feb. 11, said drivers who refuse to be tested could have their operations temporarily hampered.
There are an estimated 1,500 taxi drivers plying Cebu City.
Labella said if there are drivers who test positive for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, they will be sent to barangay isolation centers (BICs).
Labella said drivers who can afford may also opt to stay in accredited hotels during their mandatory quarantine period.
The Covid test for taxi drivers will be done in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) Central Visayas, GoNegosyo, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), and UC-Med.
As this developed, Labella revealed that the Cebu City Vaccine Advisory Board is in the process of identifying 10 vaccine sites in the city which should be near a hospital.
Labella said the first batch of vaccines to be released by the National Government will be those by Pfizer-BioNTech.
Cebu City recorded 249 new Covid-19 cases as of Feb. 9, according to data from DOH Central Visayas.
Labella said despite the spike in the number of cases, the utilization rate of the city’s quarantine centers has not yet reached critical levels.
Cebu City is under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until the end of February.
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Cebu City reached 14,170 on Feb. 11, after 170 new cases were reported Thursday.
Of the 14,170, 10,788 have recovered, 711 have died, while there are 2,671 active cases.
The DOH on Thursday, Feb. 11, reported less than 2,000 coronavirus infections for the 11th consecutive day, but deaths continued to exceed 50 a day.
The National Capital Region (NCR) continued to post the highest number of total cases (225,258) and new cases (4,775 in the last 14 days) among the regions.
Other regions with a high number of new cases in the last two weeks were Central Visayas (3,274), Calabarzon (2,407), Davao Region (1,809) and Central Luzon (1,263).
Among the cities and provinces, Cebu City had the highest number of new cases in the recent 14 days to Feb. 10, with 1,592, followed by Quezon City (1,009), Davao City (985), Cebu Province (753) and Rizal (750).
In terms of total cases for the same period, Quezon City had the highest with 42,507, followed by Manila (28,413), Cavite (26,084), Laguna (24,531) and Rizal (21,766). (JJL, Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)