'We have protocols,' DOH says on Roque hospitalization even as hospitals announce full capacity

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 12 2021 11:00 AM

Presidential Spokesperson Herminio "Harry" Roque Jr. listens as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on March 8, 2021. Joey Dalumpines, Presidential Photo

The Department of Health on Monday refused to comment on alleged hospital prioritization of President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque, who was confined after catching COVID-19 a second time.

Roque's confinement elicited criticism, as several hospitals in Metro Manila and nearby provinces already reached full capacity due to a surge in virus cases.

There were also reports of patients dying outside hospital emergency rooms while waiting for admission. 

"We have our protocols and there is also triaging system in our hospitals based on the level of severity of patients when they come in. For this, please forgive me I’m not going to comment on this but as I’ve said, we have protocols in our system," DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire told ANC's Headstart.

The spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday he was feeling better "after only one vial of remdesivir and steroids" and that he would check into a step-down facility on Friday to complete his 14-day isolation.

Earlier, authorities called on patients with mild symptoms to consider home quarantine or isolation facilities so hospitals beds could be allocated to those who really need full medical care. 

Intensive-care unit beds at 14 out of 21 hospitals in Metro Manila was on a "critical" level or "almost 100 percent," DOH said on April 6.

In early April, isolation beds at hospitals in the capital region reached 80 percent capacity while intensive-care unit beds at 14 out of 21 hospitals in Metro Manila reached "critical" level or almost 100 percent capacity. 

Sources earlier said they saw Roque, who has a heart condition and diabetes, inside the Philippine General Hospital's Department of Pay Patient Services.

Roque is currently on non-invasive breathing support as he needed to be connected with a Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure, a type of ventilator.

The official first announced he tested positive for the coronavirus on March 15. He was found negative for the disease on March 25.

It was unclear when he again contracted the virus, or whether he is suffering from further effects of his earlier illness.

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