July 25, 2024

Despite noted clustering of cases in Baguio City and some Cordillera provinces, the region remains out of the critical zone in terms of number of Covid-19 cases and would be able to manage the situation as the local economy gradually opens up.
Based on its latest monitoring, the Department of Health-Cordillera reported as of Sept. 24, the region has a total of 1,283 laboratory confirmed cases with 16 deaths and 923 patients who recovered from the infection.
DOH-Cordillera Director Ruby Constantino said the Cordillera is ranked 14th nationwide among regions that have the highest Covid-19 cases.
Of the total number, 72 cases are from Abra, 33 from Apayao, 154 from Kalinga, 40 from Ifugao, 16 from Mountain Province, 286 from Benguet, and 681 from Baguio.
Mountain Province has not registered a new case since Sept. 14.
Out of the region’s 76 municipalities, 58 or 76.3 percent have already been affected.
She reported clustering of cases has been recorded in various places and settings, such as among uniformed personnel in Abra; uniformed personnel, hospitals and isolation units, households, supermarkets, cargo companies, and banks at the central business district in Baguio; among uniformed and bank personnel in Benguet; and in certain workplaces and households in Kalinga.
Constantino said the increasing number of Covid-19 cases might cause panic but it is in line with the projection of September to December being the peak months of cases.
“But we are prepared. The Cordillera can manage slowly and safely opening up its economy particularly its tourism industry subject to certain indicators wherein we will know when to call for timeout or back off by limiting the number of tourists. We really have to balance health and economy. I think we can do this but with coordination and cooperation of everyone,” Constantino said.
She added 32 temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMFs) with 700 beds have been established regionwide, but the region still lacks in number especially in Abra which still needs 23 beds; Apayao, 30; Ifugao, 84; Kalinga, 10; and Mountain Province, 64 beds.
Only seven of the 32 TTMFs are certified. Constantino explained that admitted cases in non-accredited TTMFs would imply the restriction of availing the PhilHealth Covid-19 community isolation benefit package, thus it is a must for facilities to be PhilHealth-accredited to ease the financial burden of patients as part of Universal Health Care goals.
She added the pandemic has taken a toll on resources; manpower had been deranged physically, mentally, and psychologically; the number of protective personal equipment has tremendously thinned out due to daily consumption; and the economy bled to extremes brought about by community quarantines and travel restrictions.
“But all these must not dampen our will to survive with the new normal. We are a dynamic community wherein we are able to adapt to the demands of this even. We just have to follow through and obey our dictum na tayo ay mga bida laban sa Covid-19. Eventually this too shall pass,” Constantino said. – Hanna C. Lacsamana