AS COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the management of Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) announced on Friday, January 21, that the hospital will only cater mainly to moderate to critical Covid-19 cases.

SPMC said in a Facebook post that this is due to the influx of Covid-19 cases that has maximized its hospital beds.

"Non-Covid-19 cases will only be urgent and emergent cases," the hospital management said.

The hospital also reiterated the "no coordinated referrals, no transfer." Hence, patients are advised to refer to the One Hospital Command Center (OHCC).

In a short text message to SunStar Davao, SPMC Chief Dr. Ricardo Audan said their Covid-19 facilities are nearly fully occupied due to an increase in admission.

The announcement comes a day after the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao confirmed the detection of five cases of Omicron variant of Covid-19, including two returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) who were tested in other regions.

Out of the five, one case is a 27-year-old female and resident of Davao City who arrived from Singapore on December 18, 2021. Her sample was collected on December 21, 2021 and was processed at SPMC. She is tagged as fully recovered as of January 2, 2022.

A week before, SPMC already announced that face-to-face consultations at the outpatient department (OPD) and elective surgeries will be suspended temporarily due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

The SPMC issued the public service announcement late Friday afternoon “in the light of Alert Level 3 and the increasing ID-19 cases in the hospital.”

OPD teleconsultations, however, will remain open, and “emergent surgical and urgent cancer causes” will be catered to, the SPMC said.

As of January 19, SPMC's 346-ward beds are already 100-percent occupied, while its 87 bed-intensive care unit (ICU) beds (ICU) are already 63.22-percent utilized or 55 beds are already being occupied.

SPMC, as of Friday, January 21, is the lone designated Covid-19 referral hospital in Davao City, in accordance with Executive Order (EO) 60, Series of 2021, which took effect immediately on October 29. This was brought about the downtrend of active cases during that time.

Dr. Rachel Pasion, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the DOH-Davao, said in a virtual presser on Thursday, January 20, that the recent surge of Covid-19 cases in Davao Region may be attributed to the newly-detected and highly-transmissible Omicron variant.

Pasion said transmission of the Omicron variant may have already happened even before it was detected.