MANILA – The Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Manila has been forced to house confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients in tents at the parking lot because there are no more beds available inside the hospital building.
This, as COVID-19 cases continued to surge in the country, with over 6,000 - another record figure- reported on Tuesday.
Medical workers just this weekend warned of a collapse of the country's health system over the rising number of cases while medical staff are worn out and hospitals are bursting at the seams.
“Kailangan mo talagang mai-admit. Kawawa ang tao eh. Kawawa ang pasyente. Wala na silang mapuntahan – nagririgodon na lang sa mga ospital ng Metro Manila,” said Dr. Ted Martin, director at the district hospital.
(We really need to have them admitted. The people, the patients are pitiful. They have nowhere to go, just going around hospitals in Metro Manila.)
The hospital still accepts patients who go to them for treatment despite its full capacity.
“Hindi pa rin maipanik kasi walang bakante dun sa taas,” said Martin.
(We can’t bring them up because there’s no vacancy there.)
Martin said other hospitals designated for COVID-19 cases are likewise full.
“Hindi naman namin ma-transfer sa ibang ospital like PGH (Philippine General Hospital) kasi overcapacity na rin sila. Lung Center ganun din,” he said.
(We can’t transfer them to other hospitals like PGH and Lung Center because they are also full.)
Inside Tent No. 3 are confirmed COVID-19 patients who are further weakened by the stifling heat of the sun.
Other tents house patients awaiting swab test results, and those exhibiting respiratory symptoms.
Nurses have to remind patients to always put on their face masks as many are caught without them due to the heat.
“Napakainit, ma’am,” said one of the patients frantically fanning himself with a piece of carton.
The nurses could only symphatize, as they themselves tried to endure the unbearable heat for hours covered in full personal protective equipment.
Just behind the tents on the left is the busy and heavily populated Delpan area in Tondo, Manila.
As of August 4, 2020, COVID-19 cases in the Philippines have reached 112,593 with 66,049 recoveries and 2,115 deaths.
The surge in the number of COVID-19 patients trooping to hospitals prompted health and medical frontliners to ask government for a time out. The government responded by placing Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal back under a modified enhanced community quarantine, a stricter lockdown, from August 4 to 18.
- reports from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News