Metro Manila healthcare capacity at 'moderate risk': treatment czar

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2021 12:21 PM | Updated as of Aug 11 2021 01:08 PM

People pass in front of an announcement for the St. Luke’s Hospital at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig City on August 10, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People pass in front of an announcement for the St. Luke’s Hospital at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig City on August 10, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Metro Manila's healthcare utilization is at nearly 60 percent or "moderate risk," the country's COVID-19 treatment czar said Wednesday after several hospitals have declared full capacity.

Intensive care units are already 70 percent full or at the "high-risk" level, said Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega.

The capital region has a total of 26,000 beds in private and public hospitals for both COVID-19 and non-virus patients, Vega said.

"We made the necessary steps for this because we knew very well the number of intensive care units has to be improved in terms of capacity. If we do not manage them well, it will increase our case fatality rate," he told ANC's Headstart.

Government ramped up intensive care units in Metro Manila to 1,193 from 739, Vega said. Meantime, the total number of isolation beds are at 19,000 while isolation wards are at 13,000, he added.

"At this inventory we’re able to manage the moderate and the mild with comorbidities but I know very well since we have a big population this might not be enough," he said.

"We asked the private hospitals also to come up with their own innovative ways of transforming some of their wards or private rooms to be capable of handling severe and critical cases."

Private hospitals have allotted 25 percent of their total capacity to COVID-19 patients, while public hospitals have allocated up to 38 percent, Vega said.

Some hospitals have also provided online consultation and sent COVID-19 homecare kits to mild patients, he added.

The capital region is under enhanced community quarantine from August 6 to 20 to arrest the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

New hotspots nationwide have increased the country's overall healthcare utilization which is "almost in the threshold of moderate risk," Vega said.

He identified these as Laoag City in Ilocos Norte, Pampanga, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Western and Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao.

The Philippines has 79,016 active infections or 4.7 percent of its total 1,676,156 virus cases as of Tuesday, the health department said.

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