DOH asks hospitals to allot more beds for COVID-19 cases

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 06 2020 08:56 PM

Dedicated beds get filled up as COVID-19 cases rise in NCR

MANILA — The Department of Health met with officials of hospitals on Monday morning to ensure enough beds are allotted for COVID-19 patients.

The meeting was held after a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and a memo was issued by the Chinese General Hospital that its COVID wards are “running at full capacity with more severe cases than those seen last March.”

“The hospitals were instructed to comply with the 30% standard, and to be prepared to implement additional 20% surge capacity, if and when needed,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing.

Vergeire said the DOH continues to coordinate with the hospitals “to ensure that resources are appropriately used and are shared between public and private facilities.”

Vergeire revealed that “many hospitals have not complied with the 30% of beds allocated for COVID-19 response.”

She said this is why the country can still expand its resources since the current utilization rates “do not reflect the entire capacity of the hospitals.”

As of July 3, Vergeire said the following 11 hospitals have had their COVID-dedicate intensive care unit (ICU) beds filled up by 100%:

- Veterans Memorial Medical Center 
- UST hospital
- University of Perpetual Help
- Tondo Medical Center
- Seamen’s Hospital
- Philippine Children’s Medical Center
- Metro North Medical Center and Hospital
- Las Pinas Doctors Hospital
- De Los Santos Medical Center
- Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center 
- Capitol Medical Center 

The following hospitals, meanwhile, have COVID-dedicated ICU beds nearing full utilization as well:

- Lung Center of the Philippines (97%)
- East Avenue Medical Center (89%)
- UE Ramon Magsaysay (83%)

These beds comprise only a portion of the hospitals' total bed capacity.

On Sunday and Monday, additional COVID-19 cases in the country exceeded 2,000, reaching record-high numbers.

Vergeire said this may be due to the spread of the virus because of the easing of community quarantines.

Topping the list of areas with new cases are the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region 7 (Central Visayas). 

Last week, the DOH warned that Cebu in Region 7 is already at critical level when it comes to critical care utilization rate.

As of July 4, DOH data shows that critical care utilization of Cebu province went down to 63.12%, while that of NCR is at 63.41%. Both are higher than the national rate of 38.75%.

“We are continuously ramping up our capacities to match the changing needs,” Vergeire said.