Cebu City hospitals allot more beds for COVID-19 cases as admissions rise

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Cebu City (CNN Philippines, June 11) — Hospitals in Cebu City are allotting more beds for patients with COVID-19 as admissions continue to rise.

"We see that there is really an increase in number of admissions but our hospitals are responding really by dedicating more of these rooms for our COVID patients," Jaime Bernadas, regional director of the Department of Health in Central Visayas, said in an online media briefing on Thursday.

Bernadas explained that there was initially a large number of hospital beds dedicated for COVID-19 cases, but it was reduced over the past two months due to low utilization.

"So now that we are having an increase in the number of admissions, the hospitals are trying to regain back those slots for our COVID patients," he said.

There have been complaints on social media that patients infected with the coronavirus disease and suspected cases were being turned down at some private hospitals in Cebu City.

Among them was the late barangay captain of Pardo, Cebu City, Manolita "Litang" Abarquez. Her family has blamed the shortage of hospital beds for her death last Sunday. She was 63.

The Abarquez family said they tried to find a hospital room in Cebu City for two days, but were only able to secure admission at a private hospital in Lapu-Lapu City, located on Mactan Island.

"No matter how many great health professionals we have, it is clear and apparent that this pandemic has reached such great heights that (hospital) accommodation has become a scarcity," Apple Abarquez, the village chief's daughter said in a Facebook post.

Cebu is seeing a surge in the number of coronavirus-related hospital admissions while government officials claim the cases are mostly asymptomatic.

Bernadas admitted that there has been an increase in the number of patients that need hospitalization due to symptoms. He, however, noted that there are still more asymptomatic cases than those who need to be admitted in hospitals.

The entire island of Cebu has a total of 4,228 COVID-19 cases. Of this number, majority or 3,439 are recorded in Cebu City, while 324 are in the rest of the province.

Mandaue City has a total of 320 infections, while Lapu-Lapu Cuty has 145.

READ: PH's COVID-19 cases exceed 24,000

During a visit in Cebu on Thursday, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the country's COVID-19 response, noted positive observations but did not say if Cebu will remain under general community quarantine after June 15, or if the restrictions will be eased or tightened.

"Even if the cases are increasing, nakita pa rin natin na maganda ang health care response lalong-lalo na ang ating mga hospital dito (we saw that the health care response is good)," Galvez said.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce the new community quarantine measures across the country on Monday.

READ: New COVID cases 'not inspiring relaxation,' Roque says