Benguet seeks more isolation beds

THE number of beds in isolation facilities is not enough in Benguet following the surge in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases.

Governor Melchor Diclas said the province needs more than 100 isolation beds with both the Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility (TTMF) 2 and TTMF 3 in Wangal, La Trinidad with a capacity of 19 and 24 beds, respectively, almost full.

Diclas said different district hospitals in the province also started to admit Covid-19 patients.

The TTMF 1, located at the Benguet General Hospital, meanwhile, will utilize 20 beds to isolate new confirmed cases.

He said a building of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Itogon is being eyed as an isolation facility.

Diclas said they will also request to the Department of Education (DepEd) to provide the province a building at the Teachers Camp in Baguio City to isolate Covid-19 patients from Itogon and Tuba.

Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan, meanwhile, confirmed there were 38 new cases on October 26.

Palangdan said these new cases were close contacts of cases in Poblacion and Virac.

The mayor also ordered granular lockdown of Purok II, Purok III, Supang, Suyo, Beda and Lucbuban all in Poblacion, Letbek; Anuvang in Tinongdan, Acupan and Balatoc in Virac; and Camp 6 Philex in Ampucao.

The Provincial Health Office (PHO) of Benguet on Monday, during the Provincial Inter Agency Task Force meeting, reported a 91 percent increase in the number of cases in the province in two weeks.

PHO said an average of 25 new cases is recorded daily for the past two weeks mostly in Itogon, Tuba, and La Trinidad.

Benguet recorded its highest one day infection on October 22 with 93, while 73 cases where recorded on October 25, 54 on October 23 and 33 on October 24.

Diclas said the recent surge in cases was recorded in bunkhouses in Virac, Itogon and in Philex Mines in Padcal, Tuba.

He said they noted 50 cases were confirmed in one bunkhouse in Itogon where 200 individuals are residing.

Instead of pulling out those who tested positive for the virus, Diclas added the bunkhouse was instead turned into an isolation facility.

“Since the lack of isolation facility, it was decided we will make the bunkhouse as an isolation facility,” said the governor, who added individuals who tested positive for the virus will be placed in one floor , while those negative of Covid-19 will stay in another floor.

As the provincial and municipal LGU prepares for more isolation units, Diclas said individuals in the bunkhouse will be on 14-day isolation and will be monitored by the Provincial and Municipal Health Office.

Diclas said La Trinidad, Itogon, and Tuba have their quarantine facilities but they are also filed up because of the new cases.

The Benguet official said they are preparing Itogon District Hospital to cater to Covid-19 confirmed cases.

The chief executive said Philex Mining Corporation and Itogon Suyoc Resources Inc. has already committed isolating those who tested positive for the virus and conduct contact tracing.

“They (Philex Mines) stop working for two days, Friday and Saturday, and resume operations upon swab testing of their workers,” said Diclas.


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