DOH: Bed capacity in nearly half of Metro Manila hospitals on high risk

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 28 2021 02:57 PM | Updated as of Aug 28 2021 02:58 PM

One Hospital Command now gets at least 500 calls daily - Vergeire

A health worker attends to a non-COVID-19 patient at the triage area of the Ospital ng Tondo on Abad Santos avenue in Manila on August 26, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
A health worker attends to a non-COVID-19 patient at the triage area of the Ospital ng Tondo on Abad Santos avenue in Manila on August 26, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— COVID-19 bed capacity in nearly half of Metro Manila's hospitals are on high risk as infections continued to rise due to the highly infectious Delta variant, the health department said Saturday. 

In a public briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said only 6 cities in Metro Manila have at least a 60-percent ICU bed utilization rate in their hospitals. Hospitals in the rest of the region, meanwhile, are at over 70-percent capacity. 

Last week, Vergeire said her agency has already assumed community transmission of the Delta variant, which crippled India, where it originated, at its peak in April. 

A hospital occupancy rate of 60 percent to 70 percent is considered moderate, while the rate of 71 percent to 85 percent is already high risk, based on classification standards of the Department of Health (DOH). 

If the hospital's health care utilization rate is at least 85 percent, it is considered critical. 

"Ang utilization po ng ating hospital... mayroon po tayong almost 50 percent of our cities na ang bed utilization po nila ay nasa more than 70 percent na po," Vergeire said. 

(Almost half of our cities' bed utilization rate is more than 70 percent already) 

"Sa ating ICU utilization, mayroon na lang po tayong 6 cities sa Metro Manila na 60 plus ang ICU utilization, the rest are more than 70 percent, so ginagawan po natin 'yan ngayon ng kaukulang tulong," she added. 

(In our ICU utilization, we have at least 6 cities in Metro Manila that have a 60-percent ICU rate, the rest have more than 70 percent so we are already trying to mitigate this.)

Vergeire did not mention these areas during the briefing but based on the latest data released by the agency, only the municipality of Pateros, and the cities of Malabon, Caloocan, Pasig, Mandaluyong, and Manila have an ICU bed occupation rate on the moderate risk level. 

Video courtesy of PTV

As of Thursday, Metro Manila's overall bed occupancy rate is at 68 percent, with 7,021 of the 10,323 total allocated COVID-19 beds currently occupied.

The DOH's latest COVID-19 bulletin also showed that the capital region's ICU occupancy rate is already at 75 percent. 

"We are assisting to expand beds, to place tents and modular hospitals dito po sa mga lugar na ito para maka-accommodate pa tayo ng mas maraming pasyente," she said. 

(We are assisting to expand beds... to accommodate more patients.)


Meanwhile, she also urged Filipinos to call their localities first when looking for hospitals due to the overwhelming calls to the One Hospital Command Center.

She said the hospital referral hotline is getting at least 500 calls every day, with most callers inquiring about what to do if they have COVID-19 but are asymptomatic.

“We are meeting with local governments so that they will be establishing their triaging and navigation systems. ‘Yung mga hotlines po ng local government, kailangan pong gumana iyan para hindi po natatambak sa One Hospital Command natin ang mga tawag," she said. 

(The local government's hotlines must be working so the calls won't always end up at the One Hospital Command.)

"So, local governments are your first step. Sila po ang una niyong tawagan, sila po ang makakatulong sa inyo para malaman kung saan pong facility kayo dapat dalhin,” according to the official. 

(Call your localities first, they would help you identify the facilities where you should be brought.)

Earlier this week, big hospitals in the region such as the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and St. Luke's Medical Center have announced suspending the acceptance of new patients in their emergency rooms due to the stream of fresh admissions. 

PGH had clarified that the move was aimed to focus on their current COVID-19 patients, many of whom are in need of critical care and high-flow oxygen support. 

The Philippines recorded its second highest daily tally on Friday with 17,447 fresh cases. 

— with reports from Katrina Domingo and Michael Delizo, ABS-CBN News