Demand for oxygen rises in Cebu City as COVID-19 cases continue to surge

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Cebu (CNN Philippines, August 2) — The demand for oxygen has increased in Cebu City as patients continue to line up outside of some major hospitals following the surge of COVID-19 cases, sources in the medical supplies industry confirm.

Emergency rooms are filling up and reservations to purchase or rent oxygen tasks have also become difficult.

At the Sanjo Medipharma Philippines, located in front of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, all their 38 stocks of oxygen for the day Monday have been purchased. There are more than 50 other pending orders, and they have to get more stocks from the factory, salesclerk Kevin Kates Revelo told CNN Philippines.

Revelo said demand for the past two weeks have been high, and he said patients are lining up at nearby hospitals. But Revelo said there is no shortage of oxygen tanks supply now.

The cost of the biggest tank is at ₱8,950 while the smallest is ₱3,500.

Most of the clients are from the ambulance and cars that are parked in front of the hospital waiting to be admitted. There are also purchases for use in private homes, Revelo said.

Jessa Austre who lives in Asturias said her mother is currently awaiting admission at a hospital in Cebu City. She went to the pharmacy to get a tank because her mother had difficulty in breathing.

In separate interview, Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak admitted that "our hospitals are full."

On Saturday night, Tumulak said at least 33 patients with oxygen tanks waited outside a private hospital. Some of the patients stayed at the hospital lobby while others stayed inside their cars.

The Cebu City Traffic Office has also closed the road in front of Chong Hua Hospital to divert traffic away from parked vehicles and ambulances in the area.

As of Aug. 1, Cebu City had a total of 2,942 active COVID-19 cases. It also registered the biggest number of new infections at 415 on the same day with 11 new deaths.

Cebu province on the other hand had 3,037 active COVID infections with 261 new cases and 5 deaths on Aug. 1.