AT LEAST two private hospitals in Davao City have reopened their coronavirus units as the state-run Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) reached critical level in terms of bed capacity.

SPMC Infection Control and Prevention Unit chair Marie Yvette C. Barez reported last week that the hospital’s 35 intensive care unit beds dedicated to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients were occupied. The isolation units and COVID-19 ward beds, meanwhile, were 70% occupied.

The city government recently asked all private hospitals to again reopen as back-up COVID-19 referral hospitals, but Ms. Barez said most medical institutions currently do not have enough manpower to do so.

SPMC, one of the biggest government-owned hospitals in the country, has been designated as the sole COVID-19 hospital in the city since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Private hospitals were only tapped from November to March this year when cases were high.

City Health Office acting head Ashley G. Lopez said on Wednesday that most of the transmissions can be traced to private offices and public service work places.

“A number of cases we also noticed due to mass and social gatherings,” he said in a text message.

As of May 26, Health department data show the city had 1,191 active cases, a more than 300% increase from 278 cases as of April 30. It had 16,256 total cases, with 14,324 recoveries and 741 deaths.

The Department of Health (DOH) Region 11 COVID-19 case bulletin as of 6 p.m. of May 25 reported that Davao City logged 173 new actives from the total of 16,101 cases since March 2020. The city also had a total of 14,251 recoveries and 739 deaths.

“If you notice, the past week saw about 90 to 100 plus (daily) cases, our cases are really rising. Based on our COVID-19 growth rate, there is already a surge not just in Davao City but also in the whole of Mindanao,” Mr. Lopez said over the local government-run radio.

On Thursday, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio announced an extension of the curfew and liquor ban until July 31. — Maya M. Padillo