‘Unsung heroes’ prepare 2.1M food packs for Covid-19 patients

UTMOST DEDICATION. A city hall worker prepares the food bound for front-liners and coronavirus disease 2019 isolation wards in Cagayan de Oro City in this undated photo. In a video feature on Wednesday (Jan. 26, 2022), the local government paid tribute to the “unsung heroes” who have cooked and prepared 2.1 million food packs since June 2020. (Photo courtesy of CDO CIO)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Amid the pandemic, the city hall workers that formed the community kitchen here have prepared more than 2.1 million food packs from June 2020 up to December 2021 for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients.

With this, the local government paid a video tribute to them on Wednesday highlighting their contribution to the city’s Covid-19 response.

In the video, Edwin Ebarat, the community kitchen’s manager, said it has been the routine for everyone to begin work as early as 1 a.m. up to 5 p.m. daily.

“Since the pandemic, we are the ones feeding those who were isolated (both Covid-19 patients, and returning individuals under quarantine), including those staff who took care of them, and the close-contacts (of those who tested positive in isolation),” he said.

Ebarat said from its creation in June until December 2020, they have been able to prepare 762,313 food packs.

Between January 2021 and December 2021, they have prepared 1,384,836 food packs at the time when the Covid-19 cases were high between June and September of that year.

The community kitchen was created based on the memorandum made by Mayor Oscar Moreno, with the team coming from the different offices of the city hall who were temporarily assigned to buy food supplies and cook them.

Miguela Molawan, community kitchen assistant manager, was tasked to do the inventory of food and the buy of supply as early as 2 a.m. daily.

They would usually prepare food for 100 to 150 people daily, and cook depending on the food preferences of the Covid-19 patients.

“Even if some of us also tested [positive for] Covid, we did not stop and fulfilled our duties,” Ebarat said in the vernacular.

Increasing bed capacity

Meanwhile, the city has recorded another surge with the total Covid-19 active cases now at 1,711 as of Tuesday.

Earlier, Moreno said private hospital owners here met with city health office (CHO) administrative personnel to confirm the latter’s commitment to adjust their bed capacity to admit milder to asymptomatic Covid-19 patients.

“I thank Dr. Jess Jardin, chairperson of city hall’s technical working group for meeting with (acting City Health Officer) Dr. William Bernardo (to secure a commitment from hospital owners to adding their bed capacity),” Moreno said, as he cited the rising number of Covid-19 patients from Misamis Oriental province being admitted to the city’s hospitals.

Dr. Ted Yu Jr., CHO medical officer, confirmed to Moreno that the hospital owners will adjust their bed capacity soon.

“We have their commitment. Probably by Jan. 26 we can see their adjustment in bed capacity and this will reflect in the city’s health care/critical care utilization rate two days after,” he said.

Moreno said he understands that additional bed capacity would mean additional personnel requirements for the hospitals.

“I hope they realize the impact once the city is placed under Alert Level 4 like other local governments. Misamis Oriental doesn’t have that problem because their Covid-19 patients are admitted to Cagayan de Oro City’s hospitals,” Moreno said.

He pointed out that the city does not have anyone to rely on in cases of a surge in Covid-19 cases.

“So when the city is affected, everyone in Northern Mindanao is affected,” he said. (PNA)

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