Ilocos Norte hospital intensifies preparation for COVID-19

by Stewart C. Ocampo

Mar. 28, 2020 ...

As Coronavirus 2019 (COVID19) continues to spread across the world and threatens Ilocos Norte, the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital & Medical Center (MMMH&MC) braced for possible surge of patients infected with the disease.

MMMH&MC of Batac City is one of the biggest government hospitals in the province along with the Governor Roque Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital (GRASMH), and the Laoag City General Hospital (LCGH).

In an interview, MMMH&MC Chief of Hospital Dr. Lourdes Otayza ensured that there are enough isolation rooms for admission of confirmed COVID-19 case in the province:

Dati, we only have two isolation rooms. We emptied the training center so we have now a total of 30 beds on 21 rooms. 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. We went to inspect it and it can accommodate 17-20 isolation cases.”

The MMMH&MC has already implemented disinfection, universal precautions, the identification of “red zones,” which only caters to Person Under Monitoring (PUM) and Person Under Investigation (PUI) as well as re-routing of traffic within the hospital which creates one way entrance and exit.

In addition, Dr. Otayza mentioned that medical staff are properly trained and medical supplies in the hospital are currently sufficient:

“Medical frontliners have high moral, 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.”

The Provincial Government headed by Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc also coordinates with the MMMH&MC for the procurement of Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine so the province could have a reliable testing result of COVID-19:

“We know that Baguio City is the closest testing center 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.”

Ilocos Norte remains COVID-free with two PUI and one PUM admitted in MMMH&MC as of writing.