Overloaded: Some major Metro Manila hospitals unable to receive more COVID-19 patients

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2020 06:47 PM | Updated as of Mar 24 2020 07:18 PM

Health workers walk outside the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City on March 23, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- At least 4 major private hospitals in Metro Manila announced they were no longer ready to receive more coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients due to overcapacity, as medical centers became overwhelmed with the pandemic.

St. Luke’s Medical Center in the cities of Quezon and Taguig, Makati Medical Center, and The Medical City in Pasig City all said they are unable to attend to more COVID-19 cases with several patients still under their care as of Tuesday.

St. Luke’s Medical Center said it could no longer accept coronavirus patients for confinement in its Quezon City and Taguig City hospitals but would still provide outpatient COVID-19 testing for qualified patients. Its emergency rooms meanwhile will continue to accommodate patients for outpatient medical services.

The 2 St. Luke’s hospitals are currently treating 48 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and 139 patients under investigation. Of its health frontliners, 592 are already under quarantine, its management said in a statement.

“Both hospitals have already exceeded maximum capacity and admitting more COVID-19 patients will seriously impact our ability to deliver the critical level of care and attention patients need at this time,” it said.

Makati Medical Center in a statement Tuesday meanwhile said it has reached its “threshold in its capability to respond to more COVID-19 cases.”

“As such, we can no longer extend the same degree of care and attention for any additional admission for COVID-19 cases,” its medical director Dr. Saturnino Javier said in a statement.

The premier Makati hospital however noted that its emergency department “will try” to give preliminary evaluation and treatment to patients but “cannot guarantee a room” for admission.

 

At present, there close to 70 patients admitted in the Makati Medical Center including those who are COVID-19 positive, it said. The patients, 15 percent of whom are in the intensive care unit, include some of the hospital’s health frontliners.

The Medical City on Monday meanwhile urged incoming patients to seek medical attention elsewhere, citing overcapacity. 

The Pasig City-based medical facility said it has 64 patients under investigations and 18 COVID-19 positive cases admitted in its ward and intensive care unit as of Monday. Of its health frontliners, 137 meanwhile are in quarantine after being exposed to coronavirus patients.

"We do not wish at all to turn you away, but the reality is that we can no longer provide your loved-ones the care that they need," it said. 

The Department of Health had said that it was preparing 3 state hospitals- the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, the Jose M. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Caloocan City, and the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City- to serve as referral centers for COVID-19 patients following an appeal from the private sector.

As of Tuesday, Philippines' COVID-19 cases rose to 552, with the Department of Health reporting an additional 90 new cases, a new daily high, as Luzon remained on lockdown in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.