Calls to COVID-19 referral center triple as infections climb

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 10 2021 05:36 PM | Updated as of Aug 10 2021 06:06 PM

Contact tracers make house-to-house visits at Banner Garden Site, Fourth State, Barangay San Antonio in Parañaque
Contact tracers make house-to-house visits at Banner Garden Site, Fourth State, Barangay San Antonio in Parañaque on Sunday. Mores Heramis, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Philippine COVID-19 referral system said on Tuesday it was receiving about triple the amount of calls for help compared to July, as coronavirus infections continue to spike. 

The One Hospital Command Center is now receiving 350 to 370 calls in a day from the last week of July to early August—up from 98 to 105 calls about 2 weeks ago, said referral system chief, Health Undersecretary Leopold Vega.

The center tallied its highest number of calls in a day at 472 two days ago, said Vega, who is also the country's COVID-19 treatment "czar".

"Napapansin po namin, sa pagtaas ho ng mga new cases and active cases dito sa Metro Manila, tumataas na rin ‘yong calls namin coming the public para naman ma-coordinate ‘yong kanilang transfer o ma-refer sa isang isolation facility," he said in a Palace press briefing. 

(We notice that with the rise in new and active cases here in Metro Manila, the calls coming from the public to coordinate their transfer or referral to an isolation facility also increase.) 

"Itong Delta variant ay naghahagis na naman ng isang pagkalat ng transmission, lalong-lalo na dito sa National Capital Region," said the officials. 

(This Delta variant is causing another spread of transmission, especially in the National Capital Region.)

Metro Manila's 7-day average for COVID-19 was at around 600 some 2 weeks ago. The figure is now at over 2,000, Vega said.

While healthcare utilization in the is at the "threshold" of moderate risk, intensive care units in some hospitals have reached the high-risk category, he said. 

Vega said the One Hospital Command Center now has 110 personnel ready to answer calls for referral, up from its previous 25-strong staff. 

"Mas handa ngayon ang One Hospital Command… para sa surge na dumadating," he said. 

(The One Hospital Command is more prepared for the coming surge.) 

The Philippines is battling one of Asia's worst coronavirus outbreaks, with some 1.6 million infections and around 29,000 deaths. 

Metro Manila is under the toughest lockdown level at least until Aug. 20 to curb the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant. 

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