MANILA - Several hospitals in Metro Manila on Monday said their intensive care units are already fully occupied due to the surge of COVID-19 patients exactly a year after the national government placed Luzon under lockdown.
St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig is "completely full," Dr. Benjamin Campomanes, its chief medical officer, told TeleRadyo.
"In Global City, 33 ang nag-aantay sa ER for a COVID room," he said.
(In Global City, at least 33 patients are waiting in the emergency room to get a COVID room.)
"Medyo mabigat tayo ngayon... Kung ano 'yung [numbers noong] mga August, parang ganun na naman. Madami ulit," he said.
(It is a bit heavy now... The numbers are similar to what we had in August. It has increased again.)
The Quezon City General Hospital has been "fully booked" since last week, according to Dr. Josephine Sabando.
"Sa ngayon po nagdagdag na kami ng manpower sa aming COVID areas. Nagdagdag na po kami ng doctors at nurses para ma-augment," she said.
(As of now we have increased our manpower in our COVID areas. We added doctors and nurses to augment our personnel.)
The Philippine General Hospital was forced to open a new ward to accommodate more COVID-19 patients, said Dr. Jonas Del Rosario, the hospital's spokesperson.
"Binuksan namin 'yung isang ward ulit at nakapagproduce kami ng additional 40 beds pero yung ICU sa ngayon po ay puno," he said.
(We opened one ward so we were able to produce 40 more beds but our intensive care unit is already full.)
The Philippines confirmed 4,899 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing active cases to 48,157, a year since the government imposed an enhanced community quarantine in the country's largest and most populated landmass to curb the transmission of the disease.
Despite the rising number of COVID-19 patients, the Philippine College of Physicians said there is no need to call for a "timeout" to aid fatigued health frontliners.
But Philippines must pay close attention to the COVID-19 surge it's currently experiencing, public health expert Dr. Anna Ong-Lim warned.
"I don't know whether the correct word to use is more worrisome. It's certainly something that we have to pay close attention to," said Ong-Lim, who is part of the technical working group that advises the Department of Health.
Lim noted the rise in COVID-19 cases was the same in July and August last year.
"If that was the situation at that time, we have to be ready for what might happen with this new increase in cases," she said.
Lim urged the public not to drop its guard against COVID-19 even as the country had started its inoculation program.
"I don't really know whether it's an accurate read. But I get this feeling that people are more complacent. Maybe it’s also brought about by the fact we've gone through the first one. And although it was something that you would not call a pleasant experience, people did live through it. They did see that most cases are mild. So maybe that informs the way we react," she said.
"Unlike the first time around, we didn't have any experience which on to base our reactions on. I guess the response was more cautious. I think now people are less so, I have to say. And I guess that really is just a natural response."
She warned of the presence of more contagious COVID-19 variants found in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. A new variant has also been detected in the Philippines.
"The longer they (virus) live, the more variations they have the opportunity to develop," she said.