Majority of Baguio’s active COVID-19 cases are healthcare workers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 27) — Healthcare workers account for majority of active COVID-19 cases in Baguio City, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said on Monday.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, he said 10 out of the 16 active COVID-19 cases in the city are medical frontliners. He warned this can increase as the city prioritizes testing medical workers.

“We like to find out the real situation because in the past weeks, all these data that we're getting are practically artificial considering the fact that we don't have any expansive testing,” he said.

In Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center alone, two doctors, two nurses, a hospital clerk, and two other hospital workers have tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital on Sunday announced it will stop admitting patients, but Magalong said the hospital can still entertain life-threatening cases and mild and severe COVID-19 cases.

“There are special wards set up at the Baguio General Hospital,” he said.

The mayor added non-emergency and non-COVID cases will be referred to the St. Louis University.

There are 29 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city, 16 of which are active. Twelve have recovered and one patient has died. Early this month, Baguio City had a 13-day streak of no recorded cases.

Magalong appealed to the Department of Health to provide the city with more test kits so it can ramp up its testing capacity and finally get the complete picture of how widespread the transmission is in the city dubbed as the summer capital of the Philippines.

“We are ramping up testing up to 200+ a day. We are hoping that in the next few days, hopefully we can get more test kits from DOH and we'll be able to go as high as 300-400 tests a day. That's the only way we'd be able to determine the actual situation. Just like in the battlefield, you have to have situational awareness,” he said.

Nationwide, the number of COVID-19 cases rose to 7,294 on Saturday with 494 deaths and 792 recoveries.

Of this number, more than 1,000 are healthcare workers. Twenty-six of them, including 20 doctors, succumbed to the viral illness.

The WHO raised the alarm over the number of infected healthcare workers in the country. Dr. Abdi Mahamud, WHO-Western Pacific Region COVID-19 incident manager, said he is working with the DOH to find out if a possible shortage of personal protective equipment is causing this trend.

The DOH has maintained that it is following protocols on the use of PPE sets for medical frontliners. The agency is also working with local manufacturers to produce more of these protective gear.