CNN Philippines — Hospitals in the Bicol Region are struggling to accommodate COVID-19 patients as all six provinces see a surge of new infections in the past weeks, with medical experts saying the region could eventually suffer the same fate as India.
Dr. Eloisa Pornillos, president of Philippine College of Physicians – Bicol chapter, said on Wednesday that private and public hospitals in the region are 100% full and there is a shortage of medical devices such as ventilators and high-flow nasal cannulas.
Although the situation is dire in government facilities, the official said it is worse in private hospitals as they also deal with shortage of healthcare workers.
“What is suffering right now is the private hospitals because the nurses are going to the government hospitals because they pay better,” she told CNN Philippines.
On Monday, several medical groups in Bicol flagged the “worsening” surge of cases in May and June due to localized transmission sweeping most parts of the region. They recorded an average of 183 new cases daily, with Camarines Sur, Albay, and Sorsogon as the biggest source of new infections.
In a joint letter addressed to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, the Albay Medical Society, Camarines Sur Medical Society, Philippine Medical Association-Bicol, and the Philippine College of Physicians-Bicol called for stricter quarantine restrictions. They asked that the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, and Sorsogon be placed under the strictest enhanced community quarantine.
If not, they warned that the region may see a situation similar to India, which experienced a deadly second wave in May.