Negros Oriental struggling with oxygen supply as Covid cases surge

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The head of the Negros Oriental Medical Society (NOMS), an organization based in Dumaguete City, said the supply of medical grade oxygen in the province’s biggest hospitals is dwindling amid another surge in Covid-19 cases.

Dr. Joven Occena, NOMS president, said hospitals are “living by the day” with regard the supply of oxygen as there is also limited availability among suppliers in Cebu City and Bacolod City.

He expressed concern over the possibility of hospitals running out of oxygen as the Covid-19 isolation bed occupancy in these facilities is increasing and some are already at full capacity.

The hospitals can only rely on what is made available to them by the day, even as the Department of Health has warned against oxygen hoarding, Occena said.

The waitlist of Covid-19 patients is continually increasing, he noted, and a handful of those who died were being reportedly treated or isolated at home due to lack of hospital beds.

The health care system is also at risk as some medical workers are being infected and admitted to hospitals, Occena said as he pushed for a speedy rollout of the vaccination program.

He said Negros Oriental is now experiencing another surge in Covid-19 cases, which he believes is caused by the Delta variant considering the fast transmission and the sudden spike in infections over the past recent weeks.

He called on authorities and the people to prioritize giving attention to the Covid-19 situation here which has taken the backseat, noting that the controversial proposed 174-hectares offshore reclamation project in this capital city is now in the limelight.

“I am not saying that the activities on the reclamation project be totally stopped but rather prioritize right now the Covid-19 situation before it becomes a medical emergency for us that we can no longer handle,” he said in mixed English and Cebuano dialect.

Negros Oriental is currently under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions.

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