As the Coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the whole world and particularly threatens our province of Ilocos Norte, the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital & Medical Center (MMMH&MC) in Batac City braced for a possible surge of any patients infected with the dreaded disease.
MMMH&M under the Department of Health is one of the three government hospitals in the province along with Governor Roque Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital (GRASMH), and the Laoag City General Hospital (LCGH).
In a press interview, MMMH&MC Chief of Hospital Dr. Lourdes Otayza said they have enough isolation rooms for confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province:
“Dati, we only have two isolation rooms. We emptied the training center so we have now a total of 21 rooms with a 30-bed capacity. Earlier, we inspected the LCGH and their top floor could be used as an isolation area, while the GRASMH wards have more rooms now for isolation. Mayor Albert Chua also offered the Batac City Evacuation Center which can accommodate 17-20 isolation cases,” Dr. Otayza said.
She informed that MMMH&MC has already implemented disinfection, universal precautions, the identification of “red zones,” which only caters to Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs) and Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) as well as re-routing of traffic within the hospital for one way entrance and exit.
In addition, Dr. Otayza proudly disclosed that the medical staff of MMMH&MC was properly trained for any COVID-19 cases and other illnesses aside from the fact that the hospital has sufficient medical supplies.
“Our medical frontliners have high morale, which is good kasi mahirap din naman ang mga ginagawa nila. They have been retrained for the preparation. In terms of medical supplies, we have a good stock of medicines kasi hindi pa tayo inundated unlike Manila and we are in contact with the central office and with our suppliers as well. At present, may mga available testing kits din tayo pero limited lang,” she further explained.
The Provincial Government under Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc had also coordinated with the MMMH&MC for the procurement of Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine to have a reliable testing result of COVID-19 cases:
“We know that Baguio City is the closest testing center for COVID patients coming from Ilocos Norte and hindi naman ganoon kalapit ito. Siyempre, ayaw din nating maging secondary lang so we’re looking if we could invest a big amount para sa machine. Hopefully, there is life after this COVID-19 crisis,” he said.
Ilocos Norte remains COVID-free (AS OF THIS WRITING, MARCH 29, 2020) with two PUI patients and one PUM patient admitted to MMMH&MC as of this writing. (Stewart C. Ocampo, PGIN-CMO)