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Hospital capacity tripled: Joey Salceda thanks Duterte for helping Albay amid COVID-19 surge

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By Billy Begas

House Committee on Ways and Means chairperson Joey Salceda wrote to President Rodrigo Duterte for helping Albay manage the recent COVID-19 surge.

“With the President’s support, ICU capacity in the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH), the province’s main hospital, was tripled from 10 to 30, at first, and then to 45,” Salceda said.

The overall ICU utilization in the province has declined from 100% to 80% but the “demand for ICU beds” in BRTTH “continues to exceed supply”.

The infectivity rate in Albay has also declined to 0.97% from 1.47% on June 6.

“Financial resources of the LGUs are under strain and have already been significantly dedicated to COVID-19. Legazpi City has realigned P28 million, Daraga P30 million, and Camalig P25 million. National government support will be critical in ensuring LGU capacity to manage the developing situation,” Salceda pointed out.

Salceda represents the 2nd district, which accounts for 61% of cases in Albay. The district includes Metropolitan Legazpi, which is the largest economic center of the Bicol region and “is thus more vital to economic recovery and more prone to surges in COVID cases.”

In his letter to Malacañang, Salceda also proposed a plan to address the pandemic in the province.

“The strategy involves the following components: (1) accelerate vaccination; (2) shift to facilities-based quarantine for first contacts and infected, with improvements to make these facilities more livable; (3) contact-tracing and triaging system, an innovative approach the Management Committee is taking; and (4) treatment capacity expansion. This aims to prevent the need for economically-draining lockdowns,” Salceda added.