THE Cebu City Government reports a 77 percent availability of Covid-19 dedicated beds in the city’s public and private hospitals, which means that only 23 percent of beds are currently occupied.

This, as the number of coronavirus disease cases and deaths in the city continued to dip further this month.

Rey Gealon, spokesperson of Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, attributes the high availability of Covid-19 hospital beds to the government’s intensive contact tracing efforts.

He said the admission of Covid-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms to available quarantine and isolation facilities in the city also helped decongest hospitals.

“This is a direct result of the City Government’s efforts in preventing the spread of the virus and the effort to establish more quarantine centers and hospital capacity,” Gealon said.

About a month ago in July, the occupancy rate of Covid-19 dedicated beds in public and private hospitals in Cebu City was at a critical level due to the spiraling number of coronavirus infections.

The Department of Health (DOH) Covid-19 tracker on July 14, 2020 showed that the occupancy rate level of 10 of the 16 medical facilities in Cebu City was still in the danger level, three were in the warning level and only one was in the safe level. The DOH then had no data on the two other medical facilities.

According to the DOH tracker, a hospital is in the danger level if its occupancy rate is more than 70 percent. It is in the warning level if it is 30 to 70 percent occupied. The safe level is below a 30 percent occupancy rate.

The tracker showed that as of July 14, bed occupancy had been at 73.1 percent as 615 of 841 beds were occupied.

“This is a big relief not only to our weary families who have relatives infected by Covid-19. At the height of Covid infections, some patients had to be refused (admission) because of the lack of hospital beds,” Gealon told reporters.

Last June, President Rodrigo Duterte sent Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to oversee Cebu’s Covid-19 response following a sharp rise in the cases.

Cimatu and Cebu officials asked hospital owners to increase their bed capacity following reports that some health facilities were already refusing to admit Covid-19 patients.

Covid-19 cases in Cebu City started to decrease from an average of more than 300 cases a day during the months of May to July to only less than 50 cases a day as of Aug. 25.

Cebu City also had single-digit cases for two straight days from Aug. 22-23. On Aug. 24, it recorded 11 new cases.

Labella plans to upgrade the Cebu City Quarantine Center at the North Reclamation Area into a Level 2 health facility to accomodate more cases should the need arise.