Duque says DOH preparing for 'worst case scenario' as COVID-19 cases spike

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 06 2022 10:05 PM

Revelers watch a fireworks display George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file
Revelers watch a fireworks display at the Bonifacio High Street in BGC, Taguig City as they welcome the new year on January 1, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday said it is preparing for the "worst case scenario" in the country's pandemic situation amid the rise in new COVID-19 cases, most likely driven by the more transmissible omicron variant. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they are prepared to source health care workers from different sectors to aid in the virus fight.

This includes, he said, post-graduate interns and health care workers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police. 

"Post graduate interns... are being asked by the hospitals where they finish their internship to help, volunteer. Mayroon na po tayong programang ganun to help with our regular human resource for health and we also have an augmentation program," Duque told President Rodrigo Duterte in a taped meeting.

"We are making sure that all available healthcare professionals will be on deck and prepare for the worst case scenario," the health chief added. 

Aside from these, Duque said if hospitals in Metro Manila become overwhelmed again due to the high number of people testing positive for COVID-19, his agency would deploy health frontliners from the different parts of the country. 

"Tama po kayo sir (you are correct), we really have to prepare for the worst case scenario and that's exactly what we have started to do." 

The Philippines is seeing a fresh surge of new COVID-19 cases amid the local cases of the omicron variant, which studies showed is milder than delta. 

The wave of infections due to the delta variant last year stretched the country's health care system beyond its capacity, with hundreds of patients lining up outside emergency rooms just to be admitted. 

Earlier in the day, the DOH posted over 17,000 fresh infections, the highest in over 3 months. Over 56,000 people, meanwhile, are still battling the disease. 

The intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and across the country was at 43 percent and 31 percent, respectively. Ventilators are 18 percent and 14 percent used up in Metro Manila and nationwide, respectively.

The capital region's isolation beds and ward beds are 42 percent and 50 percent utilized, respectively. Nationwide, it's at 34 percent and 27 percent, respectively.


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