The Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) is ramping up the on-going construction of additional isolation facilities to accommodate soaring of COVID-19 cases in Zamboanga City with the construction of an off-site modular hospital and a pop-up dormitory for health workers to start this June.

DPWH Secretary and isolation czar Mark Villar said the on-going conversion of the old Zamboanga Convention Center in Pasonanca, Zamboanga City will provide additional isolation/quarantine facility for treatment of asymptomatic and moderate COVID-19 patients.

“Although we see progress toward a transition to new normalcy especially with the vaccine rollout proving effective and rapidly bending the curve, however, COVID cases are still high in Zamboanga Peninsula with Zamboanga City still under stricter restriction of modified enhanced community quarantine,” Villar added.

In his report to the public works chief, Undersecretary and DPWH Task Force for Augmentation of Health Facilities Head Emil Sadain said DPWH Regional Office 9 is doing repurposing works on the Pasonanca Quarantine Facility to meet public health standards for isolation and quarantine. It is set to be completed by this month of June.

“The isolation facility with 182 beds can provide flex space for hospitals to discharge non-emergency COVID cases.”

“The isolation facility with 182 beds can provide flex space for hospitals to discharge non-emergency COVID cases, freeing hospital beds in Zamboanga City for more severe and critical patients,” Sadain stressed.

He inspected the quarantine facility project together with Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary Romeo Ong, Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, and DPWH Region 9 Director Cayamombao Dia.

Intended to augment the 20-bed capacity quarantine facility made of two tents completed in March 2021, the Pasonanca Isolation Facility once completed shall be managed and operated by the Zamboanga City Health Office and Zamboanga City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (ZCDRRMO) under supervision by the DOH.

Meanwhile, the proposed construction of a modular hospital with 22 beds for moderate, severe to critical COVID patients inside Mindanao Central Sanitarium (MCS) compound in Pasobolong, Zamboanga City is targeted to start this June.

A meeting and joint ocular inspection was conducted by Sadain, Ong, Dia, MCS Hospital Chief Dr. Hannah Turco, and Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) Chief Dr. Afdal Kunting before commencing civil work activities.

Other than the setting up of a modular hospital, a dormitory with 16 rooms with double decker beds will also be constructed by DPWH for the accommodation of medical personnel.

This is to improve healthcare workers’ ability to adequately monitor the status of patients as well as help reduce the risk of transmission between exposed people and their households.

Based on an assessment conducted by Sadain with Mr. Abdel Kanti of ZCDRRMO and DPWH Region 9 Construction Division Chief Engr. Atila Barre, the three buildings and covered court of the Regional Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center inside Sanitarium Hospital compound were also identified as potential sites for conversion into a quarantine facility with 300 beds.

They also found two other small buildings that can be repurpose into dormitories for health workers with 30 beds.

DPWH has already built 674 units of COVID-19 facilities nationwide.

With the goal of providing support facilities for health services needed by Filipinos, the DPWH thru DPWH Task Force for Augmentation of Health Facilities formed by Villar has already built 674 units of COVID-19 facilities nationwide.

The units consist of 613 quarantine/isolation facilities with 23,324 beds, 51 off-site dormitories with 1,267 beds, and 10 modular hospitals with 252 beds.

“Until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, the DPWH will continue to provide the people with infrastructure support as it is in the process of building 12 more units of modular hospitals with 211 beds, 56 quarantine/isolation facilities with 2,201 beds, and four offsite dormitories with 137 beds,” Sadain concluded.

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