150 doctors, staff at The Medical City under quarantine for COVID-19 exposure: president


Posted at Mar 20 2020 06:28 PM

MANILA - Some 150 doctors and other personnel at The Medical City in Pasig are under quarantine for exposure to patients with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), its chief said Friday.

The hospital's president and CEO Dr. Eugenio Ramos said the number has been increasing, with 10 of the total placed in isolation just today. 

They were exposed to COVID-19 patients at the hospital, which stood at 18 as of Friday. Some 54 are, meanwhile, considered persons under investigation. 

"Kahapon, 'yung naka-quarantine naming mga doctors at saka nurses 140. Ngayon, tumaas nang 150," Ramos told radio DZMM, adding some of them are now in respirators.

(Yesterday, doctors and nurses in quarantine were 140. Now, it rose to 150)

"Nakakatakot na rin."

(It's getting scary.)

According to the hospital director, the challenge being faced by The Medical City is getting "heavier" on a daily basis.

"Alam mo 'yung challenge is not like 'yung number lang, [pero] ang exposure ng mga doctor at ang bilis ng kalat [nung virus]. And then, nauubos na 'yung mga PPEs (personal protective equipment) namin. 'Yung [mga] kuwarto nako-convert na para sa mga wards para lang sa mga COVID-19 [patients]," Ramos said. 

(You know, the challenge is not in the numbers only, but the exposure of doctors and the fast spread of the virus. And then, our PPEs are running out. Our rooms are being converted to wards for COVID-19 patients.)

The hospital chief said he, along with officials of other hospitals that face an influx of coronavirus patients, have appealed to the Department of Health to "dedicate" a hospital or two to treat those with COVID-19.

"[Since] we are running out all of these PPEs at saka itong mga exposure, na it's best and it's more efficient and it's more effective to control the containment kung mayroon talagang ospital na dedicated," Ramos said.

(Since we are running out all of these PPEs and facing these exposures, it's best and it's more efficient and it's more effective to control the containment if there's a hospital that's dedicated [to COVID-19 patients].)

The DOH on Friday announced that at least 2 hospitals have been designated as health facilities exclusive for COVID-19 patients, while it is in talks with other hospitals to serve as referral facilities for patients of the disease. 

Several hospitals - the Medical City, Adventist Medical Center, Asian Hospital Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Fatima University Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospital, Medical Center Manila, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, The Medical City - Ortigas, St. Luke's Medical Center - Quezon City, St. Luke's Medical Center - Global City, and University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center - earlier reached out to government for help, as an "alarming number" of their personnel are under quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 patients, while persons under investigation (PUIs) "continue to flock" to their emergency rooms every day.

In order to arrest the spread of the coronavirus and protect their medical personnel at the same time, the group suggested in a signed statement that the DOH should "centralize all efforts and resources" against the disease in one or two designated hospitals. 

These will be responsible for receiving, screening and treating PUIs and coronavirus patients, when the allowable number of COVID-19 cases per hospital exceeds in a health institution.

According to DOH data, the said hospitals are treating more than 100 COVID-19 patients among them, or nearly half of the Philippines' confirmed 230 cases, as of March 20.

Eighteen people have died due to the virus, while 8 others have recovered in the country.

- report from Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News