By Leonardo Micua
SOME Dagupan City councilors rang the alarm bell in their last session on Thursday when they confirmed that local hospitals, public and private, have already been overwhelmed on account of the surging COVID-19 cases numbering 565 the day before with at least 275 diagnosed as mild cases.
Digressing from their agenda which was to find solutions to the problem of displaced small-scale fish vendors near the Magsaysay Fish Market, Councilor Dennis Canto narrated his personal account when a friend asked for his help to facilitate the admission of his relative suffering from COVID-19 in any of the city hospitals.
He tried all his best to look for one, only to find out that all local hospitals, including the Region 1 Medical Center, have no more space for any additional patient. The hospitals also could not grant his friend’s request that a nurse from the hospital be sent to dispense dextrose to their sick loved one in their home because if they do this, the patient must be under their supervision.
He was elated to know from Councilor Celia Lim that the City Health Office is now doing “tele-consult” to those who may have COVID-like symptoms in their homes. However, that also poses a problem because it’d be difficult to distinguish if one is suffering from an ordinary flu or dengue, to determine the right treatment procedures to help the sick patient.
Canto, however, lamented that only a few people may know that tele-consult service is available, so he sought its widest dissemination in the social media by the city’s Public Information Office and suggested that the service would be accessible 24/7 to any one that needs help.
Councilor Michael Fernandez also related that a female employee of a business establishment in the downtown area asked for his advice after she tested positive for COVID-19 in her antigen test and had to be swabbed for RT-PCR test. While waiting for the result of the test, she was caught in a dilemma because she had nowhere to go – she could not go home because she could infect her one-year-old child and his mother who is baby-sitting for her in case she tested positive.
Neither could she go to the homes of her co-employees for the same reason – fear of contaminating them.
This prompted Councilor Lim to suggest that since the health care facilities in the city are already full, employers should be asked to assume the responsibility of seeing to the quarantine needs of their workers that tested positive for COVID, including billeting them in their own isolation facilities or in small hotels at their expense.
When Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo asked why Dagupan’s quarantine category is not upgraded to Enhanced Community Quarantine given the situation with cases continue to rise. He said the situation already calls for at least two weeks of total lockdown in order to drastically reduce the transmission of the virus.
He wanted a lockdown similar to what was applied in Metro Manila just to curb the alarming cases, noting that the movement of people is what’s causing the spread of the virus.
But Councilor Lim cautioned Konsi Tamayo from seeking a hard lockdown. She said: “Of course, life is a priority but there should be a balanced act between the health of the people and the economy.” She cited how the frequent lockdowns in Metro Manila led to termination of operations of businesses.
I surmised that this could be the reason why her son, Mayor Brian Lim, isn’t keen on even ordering modular lockdowns of households with people who tested positive for COVID or a zonal lockdown for areas with two or more households infected.
The SP is inviting the city health officer, the COVID-19 focal person, the city’s vaccine czar and a representative of R1MC in its next regular session to enlighten the body on what really is the score of COVID-19 cases in the city
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