MANILA — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said Monday it is now looking into preparing select public buildings and open spaces in Metro Manila to be used as health facilities and isolation sites to address hospital shortage due to the continued rise of COVID-19 cases.
"A proposal is already in place to convert available spaces of Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), World Trade Center (WTC), Rizal Memorial Coliseum, and Philippine Institute of Sports Multipurpose (Philsport) Arena that can accommodate a total of 2,905 possible patients," DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said.
The four facilities, which have water and electrical lines, can be converted into isolation areas preferably for 'persons under investigation' and 'persons under monitoring' for COVID-19.
Villar noted that the conversion of public spaces into temporary treatment and monitoring facilities shall follow principles and protocols related to Infection Prevention and Control.
"As per guidelines provided by DOH (Department od Health), confirmed COVID-19 patients may be placed in shared space or rooms. PUIs shall be separated in a different space or tent or room provided with individual enclosed spaces and separate entrance," he said.
The "identified spaces must be accessible to a Level 2 or 3 hospital accepting PUI or confirmed COVID-19 patients," and "distance between patient beds should be maintained at least 3 feet apart on all sides."
The facilities will be divided into three zones, namely: contaminated, buffer and sterile zones.
Contaminated zone will serve as the area where patients are admitted or contained. Buffer Zone is for doffing of PPE, decontamination and hand hygiene, while Sterile Zones serves as holding area and entrance for healthcare workers, and the area for PPE donning of health workers.
19 Evacuations Centers, 314 vehicles
Villar said 19 out of the 125 DPWH-built evacuation centers are now being used as health facilities across the country, while 10 others as Emergency Operation Centers.
"DPWH has also deployed a total of 314 vehicles nationwide to transport our frontliners. We are also assisting other national agencies transport much needed supplies," he said.
The agency has mobilized its 16 Regional and 184 District Engineering Offices to provide disinfection and sanitation services nationwide.
"As of today, 318 sanitation tents and 43 gantries have been established. At least 207 convergence areas have been disinfected," Villar said.
—Reports from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News