Cervantes appeals for national aid to address spike of COVID-19 cases

Busuanga mayor Elizabeth Cervantes during a live briefing.

Busuanga mayor Elizabeth Cervantes is calling on concerned national government agencies for the provision of new stocks of RT-PCR cartridges for the Culion Sanitarum and General Hospital (CSGH), citing difficulties in suppressing the recent spike of local cases in the town due to slowed-down testing capacity.

Cervantes explained that efforts to quash the surge of local cases, mostly in Barangay Maglalambay, are hampered because contact tracers cannot immediately verify suspect cases.

“Nais kong samantalahin ang pagkakataong ito na humingi ng tulong, o back-up para sa cartridge dahil sa kasalukuyan ay nagkakaubusan sa CSGH. Ayon sa kanilang pamunuan, konting-konti na lang ang cartridge na meron sila. [Dahil dito, may] prioritization sa mga may comorbidity, bata, matanda, kung sino na lang ang tatanggapin ng ospital,” Cervantes said in a live briefing over the state-owned channel PTV Tuesday. “Malaking bagay kung mate-test ang ating mga specimens na ipinadala sa CSGH para sa agarang contact tracing. Sapagkat sa ganitong sitwayon na walang cartridge, hindi nangyayari ang immediate tracing,” she added.

Busuanga experienced a spike in local cases in early March, which led to a localized lockdown in Barangay Salvacion where the first local cases were reported. According to Cervantes, the first local case, or “index” patient, had no travel history outside Calamianes. She added the patient had an underlying condition before they tested positive for COVID-19 during a checkup at the CSGH.

“Mayroon siyang relatives sa Coron, so madalas siyang pumupunta roon, at pati na rin sa Culion kasi doon siya nagpa-checkup. Tapos nag-open kasi kami ng tourism noong mga panahong iyon, isa rin ‘yon sa possibility na tinitingnan namin kung paano nagkasakit ang patient,” Cervantes added.

Cervantes also urged the national government to consider building a hospital in Busuanga so better services can be offered to its nearly 26,000 residents. She explained that residents still need to travel, usually by boat, to seek medical assistance at the CSGH. As of Tuesday, Busuanga has a total of 18 active cases, majority of which are local cases.

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