Old Baguio hospital opens as Covid-19 quarantine area
BAGUIO CITY – The Santo Niño Hospital, which had been closed since Baguio’s centennial in 2009, is ready for use by the city on April 17, to cater to persons with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Mayor Benjamin Magalong during Friday’s turn-over ceremony thanked the owners, the Fernandez clan, of the former hospital recently used as classrooms for the Baguio Central University, which is also owned by the family.
He also thanked the doctors including those from Saint Louis Hospital of the Sacred Heart (SLHSH), who will have direct referral management of the facility that can be used as a quarantine center, and Dr. Willy Occidental, who brokered with the owners to allow the use of the facility.
“Dr. Willy is really one of my companions who persevered to convince the family (in allowing the use of the facility),” Magalong said in the vernacular.
City administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said that it is the second quarantine center to open within the week following the Teachers Camp which started accommodating returning overseas Filipino workers on April 16.
Dela Peña is looking at 37 rooms for Covid-19 patients at the Santo Nino Hospital aside from 10 rooms where ventilators will be set up.
The ventilators were procured by the city government at PHP800,000 each, initially buying four pieces that have been sourced out from the PHP150-million Covid-19 funds that the city council appropriated.
SLHSH medical director Dr. Paul Adlai Quitiquit said that Friday’s blessing was just a turnover ceremony from the owners to the city.
He said that papers are needed yet to be completed like accreditation and license to operate from the Department of Health (DOH).
“Marami pang papers na kailangang gawin (we still have many papers to process) and it will be operated by the city with help from the four city hospitals in running [this hospital] – Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, SLHSH, Pines City Hospital, and Notre Dame de Chartres Hospital,” he said.
Quitiquit said that they are looking at May 11 for the formal start of operation of the Baguio Central University-owned hospitals which has a maximum of 50 rooms.
“But then we can start using it once the Lindi Hotel is filled up,” he said.
Lindi Hotel is a 32-room hotel on Legarda Road whose owners offered as a treatment center for Covid-19 patients which is now operational.
He said that they will be needing 30 personnel on shift including buffer staff who will be in full time if required.
The newly refurbished hospital, through the efforts of the Department of Public Works and Highways, City Engineering Office and various local contractors will have 10 community isolation areas, Quitiquit added.
Occidental, meanwhile, said that he has been appointed as a temporary administrator of the new facility under the city.
He said that the city will hire detailed personnel at the hospital once it starts operation.
“Everything will be taken cared for by the city, they will hire the personnel and the DOH of course to help,” Occidental said.
“Sana huwag magamit (Hopefully it will not be used), but if we use it then we need ECG monitors, dialysis machines, x-rays, ventilators,” he said adding that the city may include other services like operating room and delivery rooms.
“We will be installing machines for that,” he added.
He said that as per agreement with the owners, the facility can be used by the city until, and if, it is needed.
Meanwhile, Dela Peña also said that another educational institution is being eyed as a quarantine center, Baguio City High School, the city’s biggest high school which is home to more than 7,000 junior high school students.
“City High will be the next quarantine center as the mayor and I are negotiating for its use”, added dela Peña. —/ (PNA)