Legazpi City—Owing to surging cases of coronavirus in Bicol, the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) will no longer accept non-Covid-19 as the highly transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant spiking tremendously for a month now.

Dr. Eric Raymond N. Raborar, BRTTH medical center chief 11 said in a press briefing that they will no longer accept non-Covid patients starting September 15, except for extreme and emergency cases.

“Simula sa September 15, 2021, ang BRTTH ay magiging eksklusibong ospital para sa mga malalang kaso ng COVID-19. Ang mga Hinihinala o Kumpirmadong pasyente lamang ang maaaring ma-admit,” Raborar said in press statement.

(Starting September 15, BRTTH will exclusively cater patients with severe coronavirus illness. Only suspected and confirmed cases of coronavirus patients will be admitted.)

BRTTH is one of three Covid-19 referral hospitals in the region of the Department of Health. “All cases not related to coronavirus will be sent to other health facilities,” Raborar said.

“Ang BRTTH bilang nag-iisang COVID-19 Referral Center sa buong probinsiya ng Albay ay magpapatupad ng “surge contingency plan”. (BRTTH is the sole Covid-19 referral center across Albay province that will implement the “surge contingency plan).

Under the “surge contingency plan” Raborar said that specialists’ physicians of BRTTH will be assigned in three government hospitals such as Legazpi City Hospital, being managed by the city government of Legazpi, Josefina Belmonte Duran Albay Hospital provincial hospital located in Ligao City and Dr. Lorenzo P. Ziga Memorial District Hospital in Tabaco City to cater medical services to the patients.

‘Magiging bukas padin sa publiko ang Coronary Care Unit (CCU), Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at ang Bicol Cancer Center (BCC). Lahat ng kaso na hindi tungkol sa COVID ay tatanggapin sa ibang ospital ng gobyerno, health center o lying-in. Ang aming mga spesyalista na doctor ng bawat departamento ay ipapadala sa mga sumusunod na ospital: Legazpi City Hospital (LCH), Josefina Belmonte Duran Albay Provincial Hospital (JBDAPH) sa Ligao City, at Dr. Lorenzo P. Ziga Memorial District Hospital (DLPZMDH) sa Tabaco City,” Raborar said.

The BRTTH is the catchment area of four provinces such as Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon including Samar area, according to Dr. Eric Raborar.

“Para mapuksa ang pandemya, hinihikayat namin ang kooperasyon ng publiko sa pamamagitan ng pagsunod parin ng Minimum Public Health Standards ng DOH na siyang pinakamainam na paraan sa pagpigil ng pagkalat ng kahit anong variant o mutation ng COVID-19. Ganun pa man, ang BRTTH ay babalik din sa normal na operasyon kapag kontrolado na ang pagdami ng kaso ng COVID,” the BRRTH medical director said.

(To curtail the spread of Covid-19, we are encouraging the cooperation of the public to follow through and observe the DOH protocols. BRTTH will return to normal operation once the Covid-19 cases are controlled.) Raborar said.

The BRTTH cut down the patients’ admission to lessen the risk of transmission and make sure non-COVID patients are not compromised unless [it’s an] emergency case wherein the patient needs extreme health care services from the medical specialists. Albay is classified under alert level 3 by the Department of Health.

The Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH), is a former US army station hospital, recently celebrated its centennial anniversary here. It also has 1,085 employees, 675 of which are regular employees, while 410 are job order workers.

The hospital caters to an increasing number of patients annually and the region’s heart and cancer center.

The BRTTH has an authorized bed capacity of 250, although there are 512 actual beds in the hospital is experiencing congestion due to the hospital’s increasing number of patients and even aggravated by the ongoing global pandemic.

During normal situations, the hospital accommodates about 450 to 500 patients daily but with the ongoing global pandemic, the BRTTH is catering to an overwhelming number of patients.

The Department of Health (DOH) has expressed apprehension and concern following the increasing number of the highly transmissible Delta variant of cases in Bicol, believed to be the cause of the spiking coronavirus in the region.

The cumulative cases of Covid-19 in Bicol from March 27 to September 15, 2021 recorded 30, 186 with 21, 977 recoveries and 6,803 active cases and 1,011 number of deaths.

The DOH bulletin on September 14, recorded 395 new cases wherein the health department reported an additional 28 cases of COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC) in Bicol, of which 19 cases were Delta (B.1.617.2), followed by Beta (B.1.351) with five cases, and the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant with four cases.

The provinces with the significant number of VOC cases was Camarines Sur with 50 cases, followed by Albay (28), Masbate (20), Catanduanes (14), Sorsogon (12), and Camarines Norte (10).

The Bicol Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) reported that the new VOCs cases were based on the genomic sequencing result from the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) received last September 3.

The recorded cases have brought to 134 VOCs registered anew by DOH-Bicol as of September 6.

Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH Bicol regional director, said the region is now experiencing a surge of coronavirus cases, at an average of more than 400 cases a day which is quite alarming.

Vera expressed apprehension as the three main COVID-19 referral hospitals in Bicol such as the Bicol Regional Teaching, and Training Hospital (BRTTH) in Legazpi City, the Bicol Medical Center (BMC) in Naga City and the Cabusao Sanitarium in Camarines Sur were starting to get crowded or jam-packed.

The DOH record indicated that of the 1,030 beds allocated for coronavirus patients, 330 beds or 32 percent were already occupied.

The DOH official renewed its call to the public to cooperate by following the minimum public health standards, which are the best preventive measures against the spread of all variants and mutations of COVID-19 in the countryside.

The DOH official urged the public to refrain from attending all forms of social gatherings including tupada and to avoid poorly ventilated rooms or houses. (By: Raneza Sabina Barcebal)

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