Zamboanga City to convert facilities to house mild, moderate COVID-19 cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 13) — Zamboanga City will convert some of its existing isolation facilities to house patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.

"The city government is going to convert some of the isolation facilities to become step-down and step-up facilities where our patients, instead of bringing them to the hospitals - those exhibiting mild to moderate symptoms - for as long as hindi naman [it's not] critical, we can put them into our step-up facilities where there will be a semi hospital setting kasama na po yung [including the] provision for oxygen," Kenneth Beldua, the spokesperson of Zamboanga City's COVID-19 task force, said during the Laging Handa briefing on Wednesday.

These include some 900 beds in schools from the Department of Education that will be converted to isolation areas, he added.

Beluda also said the city is experiencing a shortage in oxygen supply and Mayor Beng Climaco has brought the issue up with the national government.

To help with the problem, Climaco facilitated the transfer of oxygen from Cebu.

"We have also coordinated with other suppliers and in the coming days we are expecting this will be addressed," he said.

Beluda added that it was the problem with oxygen supply that led to some hospitals turning away COVID-19 patients.

In an interview with CNN Philippines on October 10, Mayor Climaco said Zamboanga City is experiencing its third surge in COVID-19 cases.

So far, the city has 17,882 confirmed infections — including 2,551 active cases — according to Beluda.

He said mild cases were at 38%, moderate at 3.5%, severe at 5.3%, and critical at 1%. Asymptomatic cases remain at an all-time high of 52%.

As for vaccinations, 202,582 people in their area have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is 29% of the target population.

Meanwhile, 146,749 people — or 21% of the target population — have been fully vaccinated.

Beluda said they are waiting for the arrival of more vaccine doses as the lack of supply contributed to the rise in cases.