BICs to remain operational despite Cimatu’s advice

DESPITE the suggestion of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Cebu overseer for Covid-19 response, to use the New Normal Oasis for Adaptation and a Home (Noah) Complex at the South Road Properties (SRP), Cebu City officials said there is still a need to use the barangay isolation centers (BICs).

Cebu City Administrator Floro Casas Jr., who is also the ground commander of the Covid-19 command center, clarified on July 6, 2020 that BICs remain operational, but not all patients were transferred to BICs as some were transferred to the Noah Complex.

The City officials had told Cimatu that there is a need for BICs to remain operational. Cimatu agreed, said Casas.

As of now, Casas said there are no clear guidelines yet for the qualification of patients to be brought to the Noah Complex, but they are following the guidelines based on the proximity of the patients to the SRP.

As of 4 p.m. of July 6, former councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, manager of Noah Complex, said there are 126 patients at the complex, some with mild symptoms.

The Noah Complex has 350 beds and 400 more tents are coming to cater to up to 1,200 patients, Pesquera said in a previous interview.

The 51 BICs, meanwhile, can cater to up to almost 3,000 asymptomatic patients.

Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, the one assigned in monitoring the BICs, said there are 777 remaining asymptomatic patients in the BICs.

Two Cebu City councilors have also defended the establishment of BICs, emphasizing it is not the culprit for the spread of the virus in the community.

This, after Cimatu expressed his concern that the BICs may be a source of infection in the barangays.

Garganera believes there is still a need to use the BICs, especially now that the city is conducting aggressive contact tracing.

Councilor Dave Tumulak, the one who initiated the establishment of the BICs in March, said officials should provide scientific evidence that would prove the BICs caused the contamination in the barangays.

Tumulak recalled there was no isolation facility established in the city in March, but the number of residents infected with Covid-19 was still increasing.

Garganera said the BICs will still operate despite Cimatu’s instruction to bring all new Covid-19 patients to the Noah Complex.

Casas also said there are still patients who prefer to do home quarantine, especially those whose houses have enough space and rooms where they can isolate themselves.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) Central Visayas spokesperson Mary Jean Loreche said the critical care utilization rate has “stabilized.”

As of July 5, the isolation bed utilization of the private hospitals is at 74.3 percent, which Loreche described as better than the previous status on June 28 which was at 79.9 percent.

Loreche said the concern of most private hospitals now is that most of the Covid-19 patients admitted are only experiencing mild to moderate symptoms.

She said the hospitals can be decongested only if patients will agree that they will be transferred to the Level 2 quarantine facilities. (JJL)


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