The city government is coming up with an intensified information education campaign (IEC) focused on senior citizens’ protection against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) to hopefully address the high number of deaths among the sector in the past three weeks.
City social welfare and development officer Betty Fangasan, during the management committee (ManCom) meeting on Wednesday, said there’s a need for “more advocacy to inform and remind the senior citizens that they need to protect themselves and to seek immediate medical attention if they are not feeling well”.
Health authorities tagged the senior citizens as the most vulnerable sector who can be afflicted with Covid-19.
During the meeting, Dr. Rowena Galpo, health services office chief, reported that a 67 percent increase in the number of deaths involving senior citizens with co-morbidities was recorded in three weeks.
On Dec. 17, the city has recorded 48 deaths and this increased by 23 cases for a total of 71 deaths as of January 5, 2021, with most of them elderly.
“We report deaths almost every day,” Galpo said.
She said that aside from Covid-19, the majority of senior citizens who died have hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
“The senior citizens are only brought to the hospital when their condition has worsened and their health situation has deteriorated,” Galpo said.
She said that several elderly people refuse to be brought to the hospital even if they are not feeling well because of the fear that they can acquire more diseases including Covid-19 if they go to the hospital.
As such, Mayor Benjamin Magalong has ordered a meeting between the city health services office personnel and hospital doctors to discuss the increasing number of deaths among senior citizens.
“We want to do something about it. Let us arrest it. Let us also find out why our deaths are increasing,” the mayor said.
It was also learned during the meeting that there is an increase in the utilization of intensive care unit (ICU) and mechanical ventilators in hospitals as compared in the past.
Based on the record, 11 out of 30 ICU beds in three hospitals — Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, SLU hospital, and Notre Dame de Chartres — are in use, while 11 of the 18 mechanical ventilators are also currently being utilized.
This is a reflection that the number of critical cases is also increasing, Galpo said.
Preparations for Covid surge
Galpo said the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center currently has 875 city-managed isolation beds.
The Sto. Nino facility has 251 beds, the Roxas hall in Teachers Camp has 116, Quirino hall at Teachers Camp has 200 beds, the V-Dorm 1 has 83, V-Dorm 3 has 53, Ferionni apartments has 60, the Laurel dorm has 101, and the dorm for returning Overseas Filipino workers at Teachers Camp has 11 beds.
Of the number, 241 are occupied leaving 72.5 percent available in case there is a need for them.
Magalong said they hope to bring to 1,000 the city’s isolation beds by the end of this month.
Records also show that aside from the city-managed isolation facilities, there are 229 critical care beds in the five hospitals in the city for the vulnerable, high-risk, and critical cases.
The city has a 90.53 percent recovery rate or 3,622 recoveries.
Baguio City has also conducted 97,773 polymerase chain reaction tests (PCR) out of its 370,000 population. (PNA)