THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 targets to finish the construction of 11 dormitories and coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) isolation facility projects worth P294 million in Cebu by the end of July 2020.

Edgar Tabacon, DPWH 7 director, on Thursday, July 9, said they are building container van-type dormitories and additional isolation facilities for mildly symptomatic Covid-19 patients in different sites in Cebu.

These include six off-site dormitories with a budget of P84 million for medical personnel inside the Cebu City Quarantine Center (CCQC) premises at Block 27, North Reclamation Area in Cebu City.

“The LGUs (local government units) requested dormitory facilities for health workers. We are constructing six units, which can accommodate 96 health workers or 96 rooms,” Tabacon said.

They’re building a P13 million isolation facility for Covid-19 patients at the CCQC, he said. It was supposed to be at the Cebu City Medical Center, but there was not enough space, he said.

They’re also building two facilities worth P28 million for medical personnel and a two-unit isolation facility worth P26 million for Covid-19 patients at the Hoops Dome on Gun-ob St. in Lapu-Lapu City.

He said the dormitories for health care workers and the isolation facility for patients can accommodate up to 32 persons each. Each room is air-conditioned and has its own comfort room.

Taking care of their own

They will also build two off-site dormitories and an isolation facility worth P26 million for positive asymptomatic personnel of the DPWH 7 inside the office compound at the South Road Properties.

Tabacon said one of his staff tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We are preparing for it in case there are positive asymptomatic employees. We have a facility for them instead of going... We will be enclosing this facility and we will be constructing different entrances and exits for them,” he said.

“We also have a dormitory facility for the medical personnel that will be attending to them, still within the compound,” he said.

The isolation facility for the medical personnel inside the DPWH 7 compound has a budget of P42 million, he said.

They will also temporarily convert the evacuation center in Barangay Apas, Cebu City into a quarantine facility, he said. The P35 million project can accommodate 35 patients, he said.

They will also repair the women’s center intended to be the Cebu Provincial Police Office’s quarantine facility in Cebu City with a budget of P2.5 million.

He said they will also build isolation facilities for patients and dormitories for medical personnel at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) compound in Lapu-Lapu City upon the request of MCIA Authority General Manager Steve Dicdican for airport arrivals.

The budget for the two facilities amounts to P54 million.

Tabacon said they plan to put up a P15 million facility at the Cebu North Bus area since it is accessible to hospitals.

All 11 projects are funded by the DPWH, he said.

He said their office is drafting a memorandum of agreement with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Health (DOH) that once these facilities are completed, operations, including the maintenance of water and electricity, will be assumed by LGUs.

“Unconventional” assembly

“While we are erecting the structure, we are already assembling the roofing so that when the structure (is done) we will just paste it on top. If we do it the conventional way, it will take time for us,” Tabacon said.

Except for the ones that are transferred to other sites, he said they aim to finish the structures by the end of this month. They will then provide ancillary facilities inside.

As to the facilities at the airport, he said the contract duration for the contractors is 30 to 45 days, but they requested them to finish the facilities in less than 30 days. He said they are monitoring the progress and requiring contractors to submit pictures or construction updates every six hours.

He said the government aims to build 1,000 isolation rooms. But since the 11 quarantine facilities can only accommodate a total of 297 rooms, they advised their district engineers to identify additional sites, preferably in areas with a high number of Covid-19 cases.

Aside from established barangay isolation centers and the CCQC, the government, in partnership with various nongovernment organizations, has put up two quarantine facilities for mildly symptomatic Covid-19 patients at the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and the IEC Bayanihan Field Centers.

As of Friday, July 10, 42 of the 130 beds of the IEC Bayanihan Field Center were occupied, while the Sacred Heart facility was temporarily closed for preventive maintenance.

Tabacon said the DPWH earlier fabricated 200 beds and distributed 100 to the Zapatera Elementary School, 75 to the Don Vicente Rama National High School and 25 to the Cebu City Central School.

The Cebu Sixth Engineering District Office also donated personal protective equipment for medical workers.

“We received various requests from government agencies like the DOH... to provide vehicles in hauling medical supplies and relief goods,” Tabacon added. (WBS)