MANILA Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, who is in charge of supervising the six city hospitals, said nine out of the 57 health centers in the city will be closed down temporarily so that their staff can be spread out and augment those working round-the-clock in the city’s quarantine facilities.
The decision, she said, was reached during a meeting with Mayor Isko Moreno and the city’s health authorities, led by Manila Health Department (MHD) chief Dr. Arnold ‘Poks’ Pangan, where they agreed that the bigger focus must be given to COVID-related cases, aside from emergencies that still come in on a day-to-day basis.
Lacuna said the services of the health centers that will be shut down in the meantime will be covered by other health centers located within the same areas and can still therefore accommodate patients living in the vicinity.
Special concentration, she said, is currently being given to hospitals that are swamped with patients manifesting symptoms of the COVID-19 and just like the rest of the world, the city hospitals are also overwhelmed. Around seven to nine health workers from each of the said health centers will then be deployed to the quarantine facilities of the city.
According to Lacuna, it is just fortunate that Manila has a mayor in the person of Moreno, who is always a step ahead of critical situations, adding that the building of quarantine facilities for the possible surge in COVID cases once the city moves up to general community quarantine (GCQ).
She cited the establishment of the Manila Infectious Disease Control Center (MIDCC) at the Sta. Ana Hospital as early as the last quarter of last year, saying Moreno did not waste time and immediately turned into a center for COVID cases in the city once the cases began spiking.
Lacuna, who also happens to be a doctor, also said the testing laboratory being built at the Sta. Ana Hospital also on orders of Moreno, will certainly boost the capacity of the city to effectively make confirmatory tests for more residents by subjecting them to PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing or swab tests which yield more conclusive results.
The PCR test is so far one of the most accurate laboratory methods for detecting, tracking, and studying the coronavirus.