DOH urged to disaggregate 'misleading' data on hospital capacity during COVID-19 crisis

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2020 09:17 PM

Frontline health personnel from the NKTI TRIAGE attend to patients coming into the hospital for treatment on March 29, 2020. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Sen. Joel Villanueva on Thursday flagged the Department of Health's (DOH) data on the occupancy rate of health facilities in the country during the coronavirus pandemic, describing the information as "misleading."

Villanueva posted a comment on social media, with a screenshot of a graph from the DOH website showing that 780 hospitals are only less than 30 percent occupied, and only 237 others have 70 percent occupancy already.

"We urge the DOH to disaggregate the infographic on occupancy rate of health facilities... This info is misleading [because it] makes us think that majority of our hospitals are actually in the safe zone," Villanueva said in a tweet.

The graph also shows that 11,000 isolation beds and 1,367 intensive care unit slots are still available in hospitals in the Philippines.

"It doesn’t tell us where these hospitals are. What is the value of these vacant hospitals to me if I am in Bulacan and these hospitals are in Tawi-tawi?" the senator said.

The DOH should disclose the "real state of occupancy of hospitals" in the capital region, Villanueva said, noting that several major hospitals in Metro Manila have already declared they can no longer accommodate patients.

The DOH has ordered hospitals to boost their COVID-19 bed capacities as the number of patients continue to rise in the Philippines.

As of July 23, the Philippines recorded 74,390 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 1,871 patients have died while 24,383 recovered.