Hospital chiefs strategize for COVID-19 surge

Chiefs of the hospitals being managed and operated by the Provincial Government of Nueva Vizcaya (PGNV) met yesterday afternoon, January 10, at the Dupax District Hospital (DDH) in Dupax del Norte headed by Dr. Edward B. Gines to assess the current situation in their respective areas of responsibility in light of the observed unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases across the nation and around the globe which, according to health officials, is fueled by the Delta and Omicron variants of the virus.

The DOH has registered on the same day an all-time high of 33,169 new cases. From a low of 168 on December 31, the number of daily new cases started surging by four digits (1,623) on December 30, and five digits (10,775) on January 5.

Leading the other PGNV hospitals are: Dr. Arlene I. Jara, Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Hospital (NVPH); Dr. Christopher G. Magallanes, Lt. Tidang Memorial Hospital (LTMH); Dr. Lucena P. Caldito, Kasibu Municipal Hospital (KMH); and Dr. Jeffrey M. Bacena, Diadi Emergency Hospital (DEH).

Dr. Edwin B. Galapon heads the hospitals’ umbrella Provincial Integrated Health Office (PIHO). Concurrently, he’s also the Provincial Nutrition Action Officer (PNAO), Chairperson of the Provincial Task Group on COVID-19 (PTGC), and Vice-chairperson of the Provincial Health Board (PHB).

It was reported that the five PGNV hospitals have a combined capacity of 170 beds only, i.e.: NVPH, 25; LTMH, 17; DDH, 70; KMH, 45; and DEH, 13.

As of January 10, the PGNV hospitals are already catering to a total of 43 RTPCR-positive patients, i.e.: DDH, 14; DEH, 11; KMH, 3; LTMH, 2; and NVPH, 13. Also confined at the NVPH are 11 RAT-positive patients and 21 COVID-19 suspects.

Should the number of hospital patients exceed their bed capacities or 60% of their carrying capacities, like in the case of the DEH (85%), the hospital chiefs said that they shall be resorting to the establishment of makeshift facilities, which they also did during the surges in previous years.

The PGNV is also facing a major downscaling in its healthcare workforce given the reported 13 hospital personnel (i.e., NVPH, 10; LTMH, 1; DDH, 1 and DEH, 1) who have been diagnosed to be positive of COVID-19, and the impending retirement from the service of four chiefs, namely: LTMH’s Dr. Christopher G. Magallanes (June 30, 2022); PIHO’s Dr. Edwin B. Galapon (July 25, 2022); DDH’s Dr. Edward B. Gines (August 31, 2022); and DEH’s Dr. Jeffrey M. Barcena (December 31, 2022).

In regard to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Medicines, and Medical Supplies, like Oxygen, the hospital chiefs have already set their strategies to ensure timely availability, including their “inter-hospital borrowing scheme”, which they said worked well to mitigate their problems during the last surges.

They also said that they shall be requesting the top management for the early release of their budget allotments and prompt serving of their purchase orders.

All the hospital chiefs expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the granting of their requests for some increases in their budgets for manpower, operating expenses, and capital outlays.

The hospital chiefs implored, “We really need the support and cooperation of all concerned, especially in terms of strict observance of health and safety protocols among our constituents, so that our facilities and service providers will not be overwhelmed to the disadvantage of all. Healthcare facilities can’t afford to have lockdowns that’s why we are extra cautious in all our actions, as we also resort to shifting work schedules consistent with quarantine/isolation protocols. Offices should adopt work arrangements that will ensure continued delivery of basic services to our people.”

These, they said, are needed by all frontline healthcare workers as they struggle to extend their services to address the sad plight of patients. #jlc (with inputs from Monte Carlo C. David)

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