Pasig boosts pandemic responses amid spike in Covid-19 cases

COVID-19 UPDATES. Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto gives updates on the local government’s response strategies to the Covid-19 pandemic on Monday (Aug. 9, 2021). Sotto said the city government is bent on speeding up its vaccination drive. (Screengrab from virtual press conference)

MANILA – Improvements in the Pasig city government’s pandemic response are underway amid an uptick in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in its centralized quarantine facility, Mayor Vico Sotto said on Monday.

In a virtual press conference, Sotto said the city government is bent on speeding up its Covid-19 vaccination drive, even with the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila until Aug. 20.

“The vaccination program is still very important in the middle of ECQ,” he said. “But, the good news is that recently the number of vaccines has been steadily increasing so we’re also able to ramp up our vaccination program.”

Sotto said the city health department, along with private hospitals in Pasig met with the Department of Health (DOH) to further improve the service delivery service network and coordination efforts for the healthcare system.

To date, the city government has been able to increase the bed capacity of the Pasig City General Hospital’s (PCGH) Covid-19 referral center from 64 to 200 beds.

“That is more than times three of the capacity of that hospital alone and not to mention that every aspect–or part of our healthcare system, but we’ve done our best to really increase the capacity of the system as a whole and working also with the private hospitals,” he said.

Sotto said the majority of the private hospitals in the city have reported that they are nearing full capacity on Covid-19 beds.

“The good thing is, even the numbers have gone down, we did not stop preparing,” he added.

Pasig City has so far administered 247,000 jabs as first doses and recorded 192,000 residents who were already fully vaccinated.

ECQ assistance

Meanwhile, Sotto said the city government has spent a total of PHP88,245,600 for the purchase of food packs that will be distributed to 260,000 families residing in Pasig beginning Wednesday.

The national government has likewise allocated funds amounting to PHP650,886,000 to the city government as cash subsidies to residents affected by the most restrictive quarantine measure.

Sotto said not everyone in Pasig might get an ECQ subsidy as the allocated funds are PHP30 million lower compared to the PHP680 million funds the city got last year.

“Hindi naman kami nagrereklamo. Hinihingi lang namin ang pang-unawa ng tao na hindi lahat makakatanggap ngayon (We are not complaining. We are just asking for the public’s understanding that not everyone can receive cash aid this time around),” he said.

Payout strategies

To contain local transmission and prevent mass gatherings in the aid distribution centers, Sotto said the city government will do a house-to-house distribution of the food packs and will set up small payout sites to each street for the cash aid distribution.

Sotto said the payout sites will be established depending on the circumstances in each area aiming to manage the long queue of residents during the cash distribution.

“Mag house to house pa rin yung mga team at kung kaya ibigay na nila yung food packs pero yung tulong pinansyal kailangan pa rin talaga payout site pero (Our teams will do a house-to-house, if possible for the food packs distribution. But for the cash assistance, there should be a payout site but) we will just make sure that they are small and manageable and our goal is to minimize the lines,” Sotto explained.

The city government targets to complete the distribution of ECQ cash subsidy to the majority of the residents within 15 days, as mandated by the national government. (PNA)

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