MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippine General Hospital's emergency room will remain closed Monday following a fire that displaced hundreds of its patients, its spokesman said.
Fire razed a portion of the third floor of the country's largest COVID-19 referral center on Sunday. The blaze began in the hospital's operating room sterilization area, according to Dr. Jonas del Rosario.
Some medical instruments were damaged but the operating rooms are intact, he said.
There were 153 patients occupying the hospital's 250 COVID-19 beds. Around 100 virus and non-COVID patients alike were evacuated from the upper floors of the hospital to different areas including the emergency room as smoke rose from the third floor, Del Rosario said.
All of them have been returned to their designated wards and rooms, he said Monday.
"Pwede pa rin po tumanggap. Although humingi kami ng pahintulot sa government, ngayong araw lang ito, hindi kami makakatanggap. Ang emergency room, sinara muna namin," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(We can still accept patients. Although we've asked government that for today only, we can't admit them. We've temporarily closed our emergency room.)
"Hopefully, by tomorrow, we will reopen the emergency room," he said in another interview on ANC's Matters of Fact.
The PGH has also suspended all surgical operations, Del Rosario added.
"We’re just praying that not a lot of instruments were destroyed and we can resume normal operations within 24 to 48 hours," he said.
"We’re just making an inventory. We can’t suspend operations for a long time."
PGH Medical Director Dr. Gap Legaspi later said in a public briefing that the fire did not affect the hospital’s commitment and capacity to receive COVID-19 patients.
He said PGH is set to resume admissions by Tuesday.
The Bureau of Fire Protection and the Department of Public Works and Highways on Monday morning are set to investigate and evaluate what caused the blaze, according to Del Rosario.
Twelve premature babies were transferred to Sta. Ana Hospital, said its medical director Dr. Grace Padilla. Ten were transferred early Sunday, and the hospital was able to take in 2 critical babies on Sunday afternoon, she said.
The hospital fed the newborns pasteurized milk from the city's milk bank at the Jose Abad Santos Hospital, she added.
Mothers may donate to the milk bank or to the PGH ORTOLL Reproductive Center, officials said.
The babies wore two nametags for proper identification, they added.
"May tags po sila. Kilala po ng ating nurses ang lahat ng babies. Very particular po kami sa identification ng bawat isa," Del Rosario said.
In-kind and cash donations may be coursed through the PGH and the Bayanihan Na operations center at 155-200, he said.