MANILA - Philippine hospitals' capacity to handle COVID-19 patients has reached the "danger zone," the Department of Health said Tuesday as it assured the public that medical centers are opening more units.
The danger zone means virus patients occupy more than 70 percent of hospital beds assigned to accommodate them, said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
At least 2 private hospitals on Monday said their intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients have reached "full capacity," while the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) said it has reached the "danger zone."
"Katulad ng nabanggit ni Dr. (Rustico) Jimenez and (DOH) Usec. (Leopoldo) Vega yesterday, we are in the danger zone. Ibig sabihin more than 70 percent na po ang utilization ng COVID beds natin," Vergeire told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(Like what Dr. Jimenez and Usec. Vega said yesterday, we are in the danger zone, which means we have utilized more than 70 percent of our COVID beds.)
Vergeire said Heath Secretary Francisco Duque has asked hospitals to expand their COVID-19 units "if and when the number of cases will increase."
"Ito naman ang sinusunod. Katulad last week, nakita natin na talagang nagbubukas na ng units ang ating mga ospital dito sa Maynila para ma-accommodate ang mga pasyente," she said.
(This is being followed. Last week we saw hospitals in Manila opening more units to accommodate patients.)
Public hospitals in Metro Manila have allocated some 20 percent of their capacity for COVID-19 patients, while private hospitals provided 9 percent, Vergeire said, citing recent DOH findings.
At least 10 percent of some 400 private hospitals in Metro Manila have reached full capacity in accommodating COVID-19 patients, said Dr. Rustico Jimenez, president of the Private Hospitals Association Philippines Inc.
Private hospitals cannot offer 30 percent of its capacity to COVID-19 patients because many healthworkers also contract the disease, he said.
"Marami po yung healthworkers natin natatamaan ng COVID. Magpapahinga ng 14 days, kinukulang tayo ng healthworkers kaya di rin natin mapprovide yung 30 percent," he said.
(Many of our healthworkers have contracted COVID. They will rest for 14 days, which makes us lack healthworkers so we can't provide 30 percent.)
"Pinaadvise natin 'yung mild at asymptomatic dun muna sa quarantine centers ng government ma-admit o malipat para po 'yung private hospitals naghahandle ng COVID maalagaang mabuti ang ating mga pasyente."
(We advise the public to bring mild and asymptomatic patients to government quarantine centers so private hospitals can handle our COVID patients well.)
As of Monday, the Philippines has reported 57,006 cases of COVID-19, with 20,371 recoveries and 1,599 deaths.