Supply of safety gear for PGH virus fighters to run out in 1-2 weeks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2020 08:10 AM | Updated as of Mar 31 2020 08:36 AM

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MANILA - The Philippine General Hospital's current supply of protective gear for its workers tending to patients with the novel coronavirus will run out in the next 2 weeks, its spokesperson said Tuesday.

The PGH, which the health department tapped as one of 3 hospitals dedicated to COVID-19, can stretch its personal protective equipment to 2 weeks if staff use 500 units a day and only 1 week if 1,000 units are used daily, said hospital spokesperson Dr. Jonas Del Rosario.

The demand for PPEs will depend on the influx of patients, he said.

"Habang dumadami ang pasyente, mas maraming magsusuot ng PPE. Medyo fluid po... kaya tuloy pa rin po ang pangangailangan namin sa PPE," he said.

(As the patients increase, more staff will wear PPEs. It's a bit fluid so we still need additional PPEs.)

The PGH does not want to compromise the safety of its workers and will throw away the protective suits after a single use, instead of recycling and sterilizing this, said Del Rosario.

"May mga nagdo-donate po at kami rin po ay naghahanap ng mabibilhan. Isa po sa pinakamahirap ngayon iyan: 'yung humanap ng stable na supplier kasi ngayon po lahat naghahanap," he told DZMM.

(There are donors and we look for where we can buy PPEs. That's one of the biggest challenges now: it's difficult to find a stable supplier because everyone is looking for one.)

ENOUGH DOCTORS FOR PATIENTS?

The state-run hospital allocated 130 beds for COVID-19 patients. It has accepted 23 patients who tested positive for the respiratory disease and "50 plus" patients under investigation who have symptoms, said Del Rosario.

PGH's manpower is "okay" for now, he said.

"Pero kung minsan po maaari na kung ito'y matagal, kung may mgkasakit sa aming mga tao o kailangan i-quarantine ang isang grupo, mababawasan po iyon," he added.

(But if this is prolonged, if some of our personnel get sick or a group has to be quarantined, our manpower will decrease.)

Del Rosario earlier said the PGH might tap military doctors, if needed.

Its interns are manning a hotline where the public can make COVID-19 inquiries and donations.

The Manila government also provided free lodging to PGH's staff so they would no longer need to go home and could avoid passing any disease to their families, he said.

Apart from coronavirus patients, the PGH will only accept those with "life and limb threatening" conditions, like heart attack, stroke, bleeding due to an accident and imminent child delivery, he said.

PGH, in the first 2 weeks of its operations, also made arrangements for another facility to give chemotherapy to its cancer patients, he said.

The Philippines as of Monday confirmed 78 deaths out of its total 1,546 cases of the disease. The tally, which included 42 patients who were cured, could spike with the recent arrival of additional test kits, said the health department.

Metro Manila and the entire Luzon, home to about half of the country's 100 million people, is under lockdown until April 12.