EDITORIAL: Covidful



The Bicol Medical Center (BMC) on June 4 this year issued the following public statement informing the “public that its Covid-19 and isolation wards for suspect COVID-19 patients are now under full capacity. Regrettably, these wards are now under staffed to handle the unending influx of Covid-19 patients. Also, its high flow oxygen machines and mechanical ventilators are now all deployed and being used. Hence, there is no more available unit that can be utilized for new admissions. In view of the foregoing consideration, the public is therefore advised that effective this date and until lifted, BMC will limit its admission to COVID-19 patients with severe and/or critical conditions only. To all Local Government Units in the Bicol Region, the BMC appeals for you to help us by stepping up your quarantine facilities to accommodate your constituents who have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.”


This statement raises alarm and fear among Bicolanos that the virus instead of weakening has become more potent and deadlier after almost 14 months since it started wrecking untold miseries on the country and its people.


According to the Department of Health (DOH), from March 27, 2020 to June 5, 2021, total Covid-19 cases in Bicol already reached 13,227 with 4,221 active cases, 8,562 recoveries and 444 deaths. Nationwide, for the same period, some 1,269,478 persons were infected with 59,337 active cases, 1,188,243 recoveries, and 21,898 deaths.


Based on the DOH Covid-19 Tracker, the BMC has 25 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, 85 isolation beds and 30 ward beds or a total of 140 beds dedicated for Covid-19 patients. In addition, it has a total of 25 mechanical ventilators. As of June 5, its 25 ICU beds are 100 percent occupied, 50 of its 85 isolation beds are in use representing 58.8 percent and 19 of the 30 ward beds are likewise occupied or 63.3 percent. Twenty-Three of its 25 ventilators (92 percent) are in use. In summary, only 94 beds out of the 140 beds or 67.1 percent are occupied.


This is contrary to the above-cited BMC public statement that its Covid-19 wards are in full capacity. So which is which? Full capacity means 100 percent full but the DOH data say BMC’s Covid-19 beds are only 67.1 percent occupied.


While it is true that BMC’s 25 Covid-19 ICU beds are fully occupied, its statement gives the wrong impression that all of the hospital’s Covid-19 facilities are already in use or 100 percent occupied, when the figures show otherwise.


The BMC needs to explain the discrepancy in the DOH figures vis-à-vis its statement. It is believed that the BMC is telling the truth and not resorting to scare tactic when it said that its Covid-19 facilities are in full capacity.


Full or not full, the truth that Covid-19 is deadly and that it already killed 3.73 million people worldwide is undeniable.