THE Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases was apparently fed with wrong data on Cebu City’s critical care utilization rate when it decided to place the city again under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The Department of Health (DOH) 7 data sent to SunStar on June 18 showed that 73 out of 172 functional

ICU beds had been set aside for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients as of June 16 in the top four private hospitals as well as in the government-run Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).

Of the 73 ICU beds, 50 are occupied, hence a utilization rate of 68.5 percent.

These 73 beds, however, are not all located in Cebu City.

The DOH 7 data listed the capacities of the Chong Hua Hospital (CHH) Group, which includes Chong Hua Mandaue City, as well as the Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital (CDUH) Group, which includes the South General Hospital in Naga City, around 20 kilometers south of Cebu City.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in his online press briefing last June 16, cited the IATF data showing only 27 intensive care units (ICU) beds for patients infected with Covid-19 in Cebu City and all were occupied.

Based on the DOH 7 data, VSMMC had 20 Covid-19 patients in its ICU as of June 16.

Since the hospital has allotted 24 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients, utilization rate was at 83.3 percent.

At CHH Group hospitals, 16 of their 18 functional ICU Covid beds are occupied, or a utilization rate of 88.9 percent.

CDUH Group had a utilization rate of 25 percent, having only four Covid-19 patients in its ICU and 16 beds.

Perpetual Succour Hospital had a utilization rate of 60 percent (six patients and 10 beds), while University of Cebu Medical Center (UCMed) had a utilization rate of 80 percent (four patients and five beds).

Meanwhile, 651 have been designated for Covid-19 patients out of the 2,724 total functional regular beds in the top four private hospitals and VSMMC as well as in the Bayanihan Cebu quarantine facilities.

Of the 651, 410 are occupied or a utilization rate of 63 percent.

Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino said Thursday, June 18, 2020, in an interview with SunStar Cebu and Superbalita Cebu editors that he already asked the hospitals to expand their capacity to accommodate Covid-19 patients by at least 30 percent and to “never turn away patients.”

At the same time, Dino said he directed DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas to augment the healthcare workers in hospitals.

Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 chief pathologist, said they have already deployed 30 nurses—10 to CHH, 10 to CDUH and 10 to PSH. These nurses are paid by the government.

“We are waiting for UCMed to write us a letter of intent that they are in agreement of increasing their bed allocation for Covid patients,” Loreche said.

The letter of intent is a requirement for the deployment of government nurses.

Aside from the government nurses, Dino said CDUH has also hired an additional 10 nurses from Ormoc City in Leyte and five others from San Carlos City in Negros Occidental.

The DOH has also distributed to the private hospitals equitably the 6,000 personal protective equipment that the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 sent to Cebu City. The 20 high flow nasal cannulas promised by NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. have been sent to the VSMMC.

Talisay City

Meanwhile, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia ordered the lifting of the current quarantine status of Talisay City on Thursday, June 18. She issued on Thursday Executive Order (EO) 17-G, which de-escalated the “risk classification of the City of Talisay from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ).”

However, EO 17-G will only take effect after the concurrence of the Central Visayas’ IATF.

During the meeting of the IATF on Wednesday night, June 17, Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. presented the Covid-19 situation of the city.

Based on the amended Resolution 30 of the IATF, the governors are given power to lift or extend the quarantine status under the provincial government’s jurisdiction.

Garcia said they pointed out in the June 17 virtual meeting that the Resolution 30 gives her the power to lift Talisay City’s MECQ status.

The governor expected to get a concurrence from the regional IATF on Friday, June 19.

Public transport, limited gatherings and several businesses are allowed in GCQ and modified GCQ statuses.

In ECQ and modified ECQ statuses, public transport is suspended, while only essential businesses are allowed to operate. / MVI & ANV