MANILA - The Philippines is building more isolation facilities to cope with the latest surge of COVID-19 cases, a health official said Tuesday, as infections breached the 800,000-mark after a year into the pandemic.
"If we are able to provide more isolation facilities or beds for quarantine, I think this will decompress the hospitals. But it needs a very good triage system with the local governments in trying to sort out those who are mild and asymptomatic," Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega told ANC.
Vega said the Department of Health and Bases Conversion and Development Authority had built a 250-bed isolation facility in Subic, which would soon be operational.
Health authorities will also open a new isolation center in New Clark City, which will cater to patients with mild COVID-19 cases, he said.
Local government units are also making use of hotels, motels and public schools as quarantine facilities, Vega added.
Latest data showed that 41 percent of patients admitted in hospitals are mild and asymptomatic cases, he bared.
As of Sunday, 52 health facilities in Metro Manila have reached 85 percent of their occupancy or at a "critical" level.
Some 26 health facilities were considered "high risk," which means 70 to 85 percent of their capacity were occupied.
Meanwhile, 11 health facilities fall under "moderate" while 64 others were considered "safe". Hospitals are classified as moderate if 60 to 70 percent of their bed capacity are occupied while those less than 60 percent of their bed utilization rate are considered safe.
In March, the country saw a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases as it loosened restrictions, which ground economic activity to a halt, while tackling the presence of more contagious coronavirus variants.
To tackle fresh infections, the government on March 29 renewed restrictions on movement in Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal. The hard lockdown has been extended until April 11.