MANILA - Recording a downtrend in coronavirus admissions, the Makati Medical Center has vowed to scrutinize COVID-19 vaccines as it aimed to bring its services closer to communities, officials said Tuesday.
The hospital, among the biggest in the capital region, is "looking at possible options of having clinic management in different condominiums, residential facilities," said president and CEO Pilar Almira.
"We would like to tie up with homeowners associations and by so doing, we are bringing our services closer to them, ensuring that we will be partners as well in the prevention of illness," she told reporters.
The MMC will scrutinize the safety data of vaccination trials, its medical director Dr. Saturnino Javier said, as several vaccines for the contagious disease are in the pipeline. Pfizer said Monday its drug had shown 90 percent effectiveness against the illness.
"We will never go by any bandwagon approach. We will adopt a very individualized approach to ensure we protect both our patients and health care workers because we all know there’s mad rush to come up with a vaccine and... every step of the way should be viewed in utmost scrutiny and consideration of data at hand," he said.
The hospital "will cope" if and when another surge of COVID-19 cases occurs, Javier said as he urged the public to "co-exist" with the virus.
The MMC in July was among Metro Manila's hospitals that declared full capacity amid rising COVID-19 cases. This helped in managing the hospital's coronavirus admissions, Javier said.
It has since registered an "upwards trend in operational capacity in all areas of the hospital," he said.
"I think that’s totally responsible for the good numbers we have in terms of mortality and recovery. We try to limit the number of patients we handle, both critically and non-critically, to make sure that they get the best quality care...That’s to be fair for both patients and health care workers as well. We do not want to bite off more than what we can chew," Javier said.
"I think very importantly, we should all realize that we need to co-exist with this virus and therefore we should never put our guard down in terms of this COVID-19 pandemic."
The MMC has recorded 5,321 COVID cases, with 140 deaths and 5,072 recoveries as of Oct. 16, hospital data showed.
The hospital also expanded its bed capacity upon the health department's request and will again do so should it be required, Javier said.
"We will try to cope in whatever way we can but they must ensure that they can provide us with adequate personnel as well. Even if we want to open all the rooms for COVID, if we don’t have manpower, we will not be able to extend good quality care," he said.
The MMC also minimizes the number of health care workers who handle COVID-19 cases by assigning one doctor per hospital floor and per medical station and has created contingency teams of physicians, Javier said.
Medical frontliners are tested every two weeks as recommended by the health department, he added.
"The safety and lives of our personnel and staff take precedence over revenues. When opportunities present themselves later on, then business continuity plans must prevail," he said.
The hospital provides psychosocial counselling to both healthcare workers and patients, according to Javier who said he experienced psychosocial stress during the early months of the pandemic.
"In one of our weekly meetings, I already had to sound off some of our psychologists, you have to give my team some motivational lectures because if I can feel it, everyone in the team feels it also," he said.
"From that time on we have mandated our psychiatry department to come up with modules to address psychosocial counselling for both patients and health care workers."
The Philippines as of Monday has reported 398,449 cases of COVID-19, with 361,784 recoveries, 7,647 deaths, and 29,018 active cases.
Metro Manila's COVID-19 positive rate is at 6 percent, the OCTA Research group earlier said, close to the World Health Organization's recommended target of 5 percent to effectively curb the virus spread.
The health department earlier said it was hopeful that the entire country could shift to more lenient quarantine protocols by the first quarter of 2021, should local government units be able to sufficiently comply with standards on prevention, contact-tracing and treatment.