MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday said it has reminded hospitals to further utilize temporary quarantine facilities for mild cases to decongest wards as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continue to rise in Metro Manila.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Secretary Francisco Duque III told hospital administrators on Monday to follow the existing protocol.
“It’s even part of our protocol na kapagka mild and asymptomatic cases dapat nasa temporary treatment and monitoring facilities with adequate monitoring para hindi natin naco-congest ang hospital,” Vergeire said during a Wednesday morning media briefing.
(It’s even part of our protocol that mild and asymptomatic cases should be in treatment and monitoring facilities with adequate monitoring so we don’t congest hospitals.)
While hospitals won’t be forced to transfer their existing mild patients, starting this week they will have to minimize confining mild patients without pre-existing medical conditions.
Vergeire said this after the DOH asked hospitals to allot the prescribed 30 percent of their beds for COVID-19 wards. The DOH has also asked them to prepare for additional 20 percent of beds in case of a surge in cases.
There are now several hospitals in Metro Manila that reported 100% occupancy of their COVID-dedicated intensive care unit (ICU) beds.
In the last five days, the country has seen a spike in additional COVID-19 cases, reaching a peak of more than 2,000 a day. The DOH has attributed this to the easing of quarantine restriction as the country attempts to reverse economic losses.
Vergeire said private hospitals are the ones that usually have the “challenge” of dealing with more mild cases.
“Kasi pag ang pasyente pumunta, may sarili syang doctor at pinayagan ng doctor n'ya (mag-stay sa hospital). May ganung dynamics pag sa private hospitals. Hindi natin masyado nakikita yan sa government hospitals,” she said.
(Because patients may be allowed by their doctors to stay in the hospital. There is that dynamics in private hospitals. We are not seeing it that much in government hospitals.)
Vergeire said hospitals cannot turn away patients with mild symptoms without treating and referring them.
“Kailangan sila din magre-refer. Hindi tumatanggap ang temporary treatment and monitoring facilities ng mga walk-in. Kailangan nanggagaling yan sa mga ospital natin with proper coordination.
Kasi babantayan din itong mga pasyenteng ito,” she said.
(They need to refer them. Because our temporary treatment and monitoring facilities do not accept walk-ins. They need to come from hospitals with proper coordination because these patients also need monitoring.)
She said the best example would be the Philippine General Hospital’s agreement with the PICC.
“So yung mga mild at asymptomatic ng PGH doon talaga dinadala,” Vergeire said, adding that patients for discharge who need extra days for quarantine are also sent there.
(So the mild and asymptomatic patients of PGH are brought there.)
“In return, ang PGH to ensure na naaalagaan ang mga pasyente, nagdeploy na sila. May mga assigned na sila na doctors nila at iba pang health care workers para alagaan itong mga pasyenteng ito,” Vergeire explained.
(In return, PGH deploys heath workers to ensure that the patients are cared for. They have assigned doctors and other health workers to take care of these patients.)
There are also exceptions to the protocol.
“Minsan meron naman talagang mga mild or asymptomatic positive patients pero may pre-existing conditions sila,” she said. “Dahil may mga tao na yung kanilang pre-existing condition medyo vulnerable sila. Kailangan bantayan.”
(Sometimes thereare also mild and asymptomatic patients with pre-existing conditions…Because of their pre-existing conditions they are vulnerable. So they need to be monitored closely.)