MANILA— The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) will be forced to temporarily close down its non-COVID-19 wards should virus admissions continue to rise in the hospital, its spokesperson said on Saturday.
This came after the country recorded over 10,600 new infections on Friday, the highest in nearly 4 months.
PGH Spokesperson Jonas Del Rosario said the state-run COVID-19 referral hospital only has 225 dedicated beds at present, 169 of which or some 70 percent are currently in use.
Video courtesy of PTV
This includes a newborn baby and 7 other children younger than 15 years old, he earlier said.
While COVID-dedicated beds can be stretched up to 250 at most, he said, PGH would need to close down its non-COVID wards at the worst case if more COVID-19 patients come for admission.
"Ang nagiging limitasyon po ay bilang ng mga nurses, doktor... kasi minsan nagkakasakit po sila... ang ginagawa po namin, huling fallback, kung talagang napakadami pong pasyente ng COVID ay magsasara po kami ng non-COVID wards or non-COVID units," Del Rosario explained during a public briefing.
(The hospital's limitations include the number of nurses and doctors in the work force because when they get sick, others get infected too, so what we will do is close our non-COVID wards should a stream of fresh virus admissions continue.)
"Ititigil po namin muna ang non-COVID elective admissions po para matugunan 'yung demand, lalo na po kung magkaroon po talaga ng sobrang pagdami ng pagpasok ng pasyente."
(We will close down our non-COVID elective admissions temporarily to respond to the demand, most especially if there are many COVID-19 patients.)
The official added that while 80 percent of PGH's health frontliners are fully vaccinated against the virus, some still contracted mild to moderate COVID-19 infections.
Just last July, 38 of the hospital's workers were infected, and all have already recovered.
"Puwede naman 'yang ma-expand (health care capacity), and magdi-dictate po niyan ay 'yung bilang ng aming mga frontliners or health care workers," he added.
(We can expand the health care capacity but that still depends on the number of health care workers)
MILD COVID-19 PATIENTS 'REDIRECTED, NOT DENIED'
At the same briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that her agency is already expanding health care capacity nationwide, including decongesting hospitals of mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients.
This as the intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rate in the National Capital Region rose to 61 percent, up from the 58 percent posted on Thursday.
The ICU bed occupation rate nationwide is higher at 62 percent, up by 2 percent the previous day, per DOH data.
"Pinadadagdagan po natin ang mga ICU, pinapa-decongest natin ang mga ospital sa mga mild at asymptomatic at ililipat po sila sa mga step-down facilities. Hindi naman po tanggihan ang kahit sinong pasyente sa ating ospital, ire-redirect lang po sila," she said.
(We already asked to have more ICUs. We will also decongest our hospitals of mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients and transfer them to our step-down facilities. We did not deny any COVID-19 patients, we only redirected them to other hospitals.)
"Nagpre-position na rin po tayo ng mga kailangang gamit like oxygen, mga supplies, reagents at testing kits, at mga gamot sa mga ospital para tayo ay makapaghanda para sa mga kaso na ito."
(We already prepositioned medicine, oxygen, supplies, reagents and testing kits to hospitals so we can be prepared with the new cases)
On Friday, the DOH introduced a 4-tier system to identify the severity of COVID-19 incidence in various parts of the country.