P15M COVID-isolation building needs provincial board approval

NEGROS ORIENTAL – A P15-million COVID-isolation building and facility exclusively for COVID-19 and infectious diseases is being pushed to be constructed at Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH).

IATF ground commander, Dr. Liland Estacion, Assistant Head of the Provincial Health Office (PHO) said NOPH needs its own isolation facility, especially that there are additional coronavirus diseases cases in the province.

Silliman University Medical Center, likewise is finishing its structure for their new RT PCR testing machine bought for P4Million as a pre-requisite for a DOH accreditation as another COVID TESTING CENTER.

Estacion presented the proposal to the Negros Oriental Provincial Board recently as an additional precaution for the possible in crease of COVID-19 cases. This needs provincial board approval. The governor certified this as urgent.

“We need to have an isolation (facility). In case of a (COVID-19) surge, we’ll have a place for them. We need that for the province,” she said.

NOPH has a temporary COVID-19 isolation area which needs a lot of improvements. Aside from the lack of the needed equipment, it can only accept a limited number of patients, the doctor said.

Estacion suggested to get the 15-million funding from the Bayanihan Grant the provincial government received for COVID-19 related project and responses.

The capitol reportedly received around P200 million aid from the national government or an equivalent to one month of its internal revenue allotment (IRA).

Estacion said the construction of the proposed isolation facility will increase the bed capacity of the provincial hospital. It can also be used for patients with other infectious diseases like tuberculosis, rabbis, meningococcemia, among others.

NOPH has addressed the lack of mechanical ventilators for COVID-19 patients by purchasing and renting additional machines.

Committee on Health chairman Board Member John Raymond, Jr. backs the proposal but suggest for a thorough study for the project, while a few members of the council expressed doubts on its urgency. “Our isolation ward is not that important,” said BM Valente Yap, vice-chairman on committee on health.

Yap and committee member BM Estanislao Alviola, both expressed concerns on the possible redundancy of the funding since the council has appropriated P50 million for the construction of an annex building for NOPH.

The said building has yet to be finished. They suggest realigning of the P50 million funding for the proposed isolation facility.

Meanwhile, the provincial Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases is planning to use the Negros Oriental Convention Center and the Lamberto Macias Sports Complex as additional isolation and quarantine facility as more Locally Stranded Individuals and Returning Overseas Filipinos arrive in the province. (By Ryan Sorote)