BACOLOD City Mayor Evelio Leonardia submitted an urgent appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to send an augmentation team of doctors, nurses, and medical technologists from Department of Health (DOH) to Bacolod as an emergency stop-gap measure before the city's healthcare system bogs down due to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

In his letter dated August 25 and addressed to Duterte, Leonardia said the recent spike in local transmission of Covid-19 in the city has filled up, in no time, the 149 Covid beds in seven hospitals, one government and six private.

The situation was worsened because many of the medical staff in these hospitals had tested positive for the virus and had to go on quarantine/isolation and they have not yet reported back, while several others have resigned or have gone Awol. Most of these personnel are nurses.

He said since Sunday, August 23, these hospitals have turned away Covid-19 patients or those with Covid-19 symptoms, saying they are already full or that there are no more doctors and nurses to take care of new suspects as of that day.

"Unlike other HUCs, we do not have many hospitals. We only have four infectious disease specialist on active duty in these seven hospitals. And on top of that, our medical staff in these hospitals are depleting for above reasons. These are practically no takers for our offers to hire new doctors and nurses. Our need for medical staff to fill up the gap in our hospitals is great Mr. President. Patients have already died in their homes for failing to avail of emergency hospital services, which help they could have been given had there been enough medical personnel at these hospitals," he added.

Leonardia said the City Health Office has relayed the need of 150 nurses to be assigned to hospitals and health facilities; 20 doctors, some to help out the hospitals and some for field work in barangay heal centers so that mild cases in the barangays need not go to the hospitals anymore and first-aid can even be administered there to the moderate ones; and 30 medical technologist to perform swabbing for Covid-19 suspects and probable patients.

"We understand that this requirement may be hard to fill on short notice. Thus, whatever number of these medical personnel you can send us through the DOH will be God-sent blessings. Mr. President, our situation is dire. Please help us," he said.