VSMMC chief: Unfair to blame staff for case rise

IT IS unfair to solely blame Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center’s (VSMMC) frontliners for the rise in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in Barangay Sambag 2, Cebu City, where the hospital is located.

Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., VSMMC chief, issued this statement Monday on “Mugstoria ‘Ta,” aired on the Facebook page of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas.

Sambag 2 Barangay Captain Ryan Aznar had expressed concern about VSMMC frontliners who are reportedly staying in rented rooms in the barangay, which has recorded 70 Covid-19 cases.

According to Aznar, they traced 20 VSMMC frontliners who tested positive for Covid-19.

He said barangay residents who went to the VSMMC outpatient department for consultation or had given birth at the hospital eventually tested positive for the disease.

But Aquino said it was not fair to say it was the hospital’s fault that they got infected.

“It’s already confirmed there is already local transmission,” he said.

He said pregnant women who go to the VSMMC to deliver their babies are swabbed within minutes of admission.

The procedure is a requirement, he said.

Results come out after two days. Some tested positive, Aquino said.

The VSMMC also explained that not all infected persons show respiratory symptoms.

He cited studies that showed asymptomatic cases, or those who don’t show any symptoms, also spread the virus.

Aquino said VSMMC personnel directly involved in caring for Covid-19 patients have been housed in a dorm and only return to their homes every two weeks.

“It turned out that those who were not handling Covid-19 patients came out positive,” he said in Cebuano.

Looking for hotels

Cebu City Administrator Floro Casas Jr. said Mayor Edgardo Labella has agreed to set up a dorm for VSMMC frontliners outside Sambag 2 as requested by Aznar.

Casas said they are looking for hotels that can provide an initial 25 beds for the VSMMC staff.

On Monday night, June 8, the VSMMC announced that it would implement the “no watcher, no visitor” policy starting Tuesday, June 9, as part of the hospital’s infection prevention control measures to ensure the safety of patients and their families, including health care workers.

“Should there be any urgent need, our staff shall call for watchers of patients through phone,” it said.

The policy, however, does not apply to watchers of pediatric patients. Renal patients can also have watchers but only for a maximum of four hours. (WBS with PR)