System for COVID-19 hospital referral 'very basic', needs improvement: treatment czar


Posted at Mar 31 2021 02:22 PM

System for COVID-19 hospital referral 'very basic', needs improvement: treatment czar 1
The Makati Medical Center displays a sign indicating the hospital is full at their emergency area on Monday, March 15, 2021. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The One Hospital Command Center's system for facility referral of COVID-19 patients is "very basic" and needs improvement, its head said on Tuesday, as the Philippines battled a surge in coronavirus infections.

Treatment "czar" Dr. Leopoldo Vega said the One Hospital Command Center was set up last year with many "donated items coming from the private sector," including phone lines and cellphones.

"Nagkaroon kami ng kaunting improvement nito noong ilang buwan, pero hindi namin kinaya ho ang number of calls na dumadating ngayon sa surge," he said in a televised public briefing. 

(We made some improvements in the past few months, but it couldn't handle the number of calls coming in during the current surge of COVID-19 cases.)

"Tama, very basic— wala kaming sophisticated system of call forwarding or a mechanism na puwede mag-transfer ng call," he added. 

(Correct, it's very basic—we have no sophisticated system of call forwarding or a mechanism that can transfer calls.)
The command center receives about 388 calls for help a day, more than triple the 110 daily calls it accommodated last year, said Vega. 

He said he has asked for help from the DOH to increase the command center's personnel and improve its connectivity.

The Philippines logged over 9,000 new coronavirus cases for the fifth straight day on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections to 741,181, among the highest caseloads in Asia. 

The country's 124,680 active cases as of Tuesday, which account for 16.8 percent of the cumulative total, is the highest recorded in a single day since the pandemic started. 

Hospital beds are under the "moderate risk" category, while ICU beds are "high risk" in some areas like Makati, Quezon City, Taguig and Navotas, Vega said.

The health department classifies a 60 to 69 percent health care utilization rate as "moderate," and 70 to 85 percent as "high risk." 

Authorities are setting up modular hospitals to raise health care capacity, said Vega. 

President Rodrigo Duterte is also set to decide on Saturday on the extension of restrictions in Metro Manila and 4 surrounding provinces. 

Video courtesy of PTV