Hospital representatives meet with the Negros Oriental Inter-Agency Task Force as hospitals are “overwhelmed” and new Covid-19 infections continue to increase. (PIO)

A group of doctors in Negros Oriental has called on authorities to place the province under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) following multiple surges of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infections in the past few weeks.

The Negros Oriental Medical Society (NOMS) made the appeal Sunday after the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force declared that public and private hospitals in the province had been overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases.

“We call an ECQ,” said the NOMS in a statement on Sunday, May 23. “We call a lockdown. Call it whatever you like.”

NOMS said it had observed a “rapid rise in cases” beyond what hospitals could handle. Lives have been lost, the group said, and many were “critically ill” amid scarce resources.

The Integrated Provincial Health Office, in a recent report, said that out of the 135 beds intended for Covid-19 patients in four private hospitals and one government hospital in Dumaguete City and Sibulan, only 10 were unoccupied.

Dr. Liland Estacion, assistant provincial health officer, said some health workers were thinking of resigning as hospitals were overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases, and new infections continued to increase.

Last week, one of the biggest hospitals in Dumaguete, the Silliman University Medical Center, suspended the admission of Covid-19 patients after its isolation facility became “fully occupied.” This prompted the hospital to increase isolation bed capacity.

From a daily average of 45 new infections in late April, Negros Oriental has recorded an average of 90 to 100 cases per day, records from the Department of Health in Central Visayas showed.

Estacion, who also serves as the task force incident commander, attributed the increase in Covid-19 infections to people’s laxity in adhering to health protocols.

Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo is set to release an executive order amending protocols as surges in infections were observed throughout the province.

The NOMS warned that failure to follow health protocols would cause the collapse of the local healthcare system.

“Please, people of Negros Oriental, do something,” appealed the doctors. “Stop parties. Stop gatherings. Don’t socialize. Wear masks. Give us curfews. Give us time to rest. Please do something before health care collapses.”

“The end of healthcare will be the end of society,” the statement said.

On Friday, May 21, Negros Oriental reported a record-high 204 new infections, with the capital city of Dumaguete logging the highest number of active cases at 185. There were 709 active cases. Ryan Sorote