WVMC to serve severe non-Covid patients in Panay

Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in this city’s Mandurriao district will again open to serve severe non-Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) cases in Panay following days of meetings and consultations led by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Visayas (OPAV).

“WVMC is the only tertiary government hospital aside from the WVSUMC (West Visayas State University Medical Center) that could serve severe non-Covid and Covid cases in the entire region,” Assistant Secretary Gerard Anthony “Jonji” Gonzales, OPAV Special Concerns Officer of Western Visayas, said in a press conference Tuesday evening.

DOH Center for Health Development Western Visayas regional director Marlyn W. Convocar said WVMC will dedicate 100 beds for Covid-19 cases. There are currently four Covid-19 cases at the 450-bed capacity hospital.

The spillover will be taken care of by the WVSUMC while the Western Visayas Sanitarium in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo will handle the infirmary.

Gonzales also said that private hospitals, during their meeting Tuesday morning, agreed to admit Covid patients.

“We have to open up private hospitals. Because the rule is if you are a Level 3 hospital, and there are a lot of Level 3 hospitals in Iloilo, they should be capable to attend to Covid patients. We talk to them and they also agreed that they will admit Covid patients,” Gonzales said.

He added that DOH “can very well issue a show-cause order for Level 3 hospitals that will refuse to admit Covid and non-Covid patients”.

Level 3 hospitals are those with high-level specialty intervention.

In an interview over RMN Iloilo on Wednesday, Dr. Ludovico Jurao Jr., assistant administrator of the Iloilo Doctor’s Hospital, said private hospitals in the city are talking to identify a dedicated private hospital for Covid-19 patients who do not want to get admitted in the government health facility.

“We are in the process because we want to identify the best area, best hospital to contain the infection. At the same time, the purpose is to channel the donations of PPE (personal protective equipment) to that hospital because that is one of our big problems now,” Jurao, also the spokesperson of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) in Iloilo, said.

Also, the medical doctor will just visit the patient in the private dedicated hospital, so there is less exposure by the public.

However, he said that private hospitals could not deny suspected, possible and probable cases. Once the patient is tested to be positive, then the Covid positive will be offered the option of being referred to a private or government dedicated hospital.

On March 24, DOH and hospitals in Iloilo City signed an agreement establishing a protocol for the admission and treatment of patients.

In the protocol, all the 450 hospital beds of the WVMC will be reserved for patients under investigation (PUIs), patients with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), elderly whether or not they have co-morbidities and non-elderly with uncontrolled morbidities.

All non-Covid patients will be absorbed by the WVSUMC and other private hospitals in the city.

Meanwhile, in addition to opening the WVMC to severe non-Covid patients, another agreement was for Iloilo to open its borders to allow the transport of patients from other provinces to the said hospital.

Gonzales said he “pleaded” with Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. to allow patients coming from other provinces needing urgent medical care at the WVMC to pass through borders provided that they follow the strict protocol to be imposed by the Department of Health (DOH) in transporting the patients.

He added that non-severe medical cases are supposed to stay in hospitals where they are currently admitted.

The third agreement was for the DOH-CHD 6 to adopt the enhanced severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and influenza-like illnesses (ILI) surveillance.

Director Jaime Bernadas, DOH CHD Central Visayas Regional Director and focal person for Covid in the Visayas said the surveillance of ILI and SARI cases has to be intensified in provinces, municipalities, and hospitals.

Bernadas under the twinning arrangement of the Central and Western Visayas as ordered by DOH Central office shared their best practices in containing Covid-19.

For the past four days, according to the director, they have not recorded positive cases in their region.

He said that they have to come up with a unified protocol in terms of surveillance, testing, and transport among others.

“For this protocol, we will be able to identify all cases with ILI, we can identify high-risk patients with ILI and we can identify whom to prioritize for the testing for Covid patient,” he said.

Bernadas said the “ownership of all local government health workers is necessary for this surveillance protocol to be applied uniformly and to be applied effectively,” he said.

“These are all we want to share with Region 6 with the concurrence of the OPAV and with the concurrence of local chief executives, which should be a must because they will be the ones at the front line for the surveillance of these influenza-like illnesses and all our health workers in the front line are with our LGU,” he said.

Further, 391 PUIs were tested negative of the disease, 163 were discharged from hospitals while 162 are still admitted, according to the DOH in an advisory released on April 7.

Moreover, 44,328 out of the 54,374 persons under monitoring in Western Visayas have completed the 14-day required quarantine.

Of the region’s 36 confirmed Covid-19 cases, three have recovered; six have died and the rest are either stable or still under observation. Source: Philippines News Agency

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