As coronavirus cases rise, DOH orders hospitals to boost COVID-19 bed capacity

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2020 01:18 PM

Patients wait for their turn at the emergency room entrance of Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Tondo Manila on July 14, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Public and private hospitals are now mandated to increase their bed allocation for COVID-19 patients, the Department of Health said Wednesday, as the country's coronavirus cases surpassed 70,000.

In a press forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency amended its policy of hospital care capacity to address the surge in coronavirus cases.

Under the DOH's One Hospital Command strategy, public hospitals should allocate as much as 70 percent of total bed capacity for COVID-19 cases from the previous 30 percent capacity.

"Sa public hospitals, we require them to allocate 30 percent of their bed capacity for COVID-19 patients. Kapag nag-surge ang cases, 50 percent. At 'pag kailangan pa, dapat 70 percent of their bed capacity should be allocated for COVID-19 patients,” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, private hospitals are also mandated to expand their bed allocation for coronavirus patients to 30 percent, up by 10 percent from the health ministry's previous policy.

Vergeire said they were looking at incentivizing private hospitals who would comply with the new mandate.

Under the One Hospital Command, which seeks to decongest the country's health care system from COVID-19 cases, mild and asymptomatic patients will be referred to temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.

"The One Hospital Command will address gaps in our referral system," the health official said.

Several hospitals in Metro Manila have previously reported they were being overwhelmed by the rising number of coronavirus patients.

The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines breached 70,000, with 1,951 new infections reported Tuesday. The tally includes 1,837 fatalities and 23,281 recoveries.

Of the total caseload, some 45,646 patients are considered active cases, where 91 percent of them are exhibiting mild symptoms from the disease.