MANILA — Despite requiring hospitals to allocate a certain percentage of their beds to COVID-19 patients, only a small percentage of them have been able to comply, the Department of Health said on Thursday.
This as COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and nearby provinces continue to increase, leaving many hospitals with fully-occupied COVID wards.
Health Undersecretary Leopoldo “Bong” Vega said that when the DOH first came out with the directive in July for private hospitals to allocate 20% of their beds, and 30% for public hospitals, for COVID-19 patients, only 8% of private hospitals and 16 or 17% of public hospitals complied.
Vega, who is now in charge of the critical care utilization of hospitals, said DOH has been talking to hospital directors on how to address their problems.
“They have gradually increased this. Private (hospitals) in the last week of July…18% of them came up with 20% allocation. 20 to 22% of public (hospitals) came up with 30% allocation,” he said.
“It’s not easy to convert wards into COVID wards. It’s not just the placement of beds,” the health official added.
He said hospitals need to retrofit facilities and ensure the safety of health workers by setting infection control measures.
Hospitals also need negative pressure rooms or good ventilation to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
On top of that, Vega said they need more health workers because of the 2-week shifting required for those working in COVID wards.
Vega said that while they understand the predicament of the hospitals, they told them to move fast as the country deals with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.