MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday said it has monitored a decrease in the occupancy rate of hospital beds allotted for COVID-19 patients in Metro Manila and some other regions.
“As of November 29, napansin natin ang decreasing trend o pababa ng ating utilization rate ng COVID beds sa Pilipinas,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during a virtual briefing.
(As of November 29, we noticed a decreasing trend in the utilization rate of COVID beds in the Philippines.)
Duque said the critical care utilization rate refers to the occupancy rate of intensive care unit beds, isolation beds, COVID ward beds and mechanical bed ventilators nationwide.
He said the decrease was seen in the National Capital Region, Region 4B, Region 9, and Region 13 or CARAGA.
Duque explained that NCR has increased its bed allocation for COVID-19 patients to 6,771, or 23% of the total bed capacity of NCR hospitals.
While public hospitals have allocated 27% on average for COVID patients, private hospitals have allotted 17%. This is near but still lower than the previously set target of 30% for public and 20% for private hospitals.
Nevertheless, Duque said it was the reason why the country is able to keep its utilization rate to a relatively low 37%.
“Kahit na bumababa, hindi irreversible, pwedeng bumaligtad at mauwi tayo sa pagsipa muli ng mga kaso at mabilaukan ang ating mga ospital at ibang mga pasilidad. Kaya hindi tayo tumitigil lalo na itong kapaskuhan at pagsalubong ng bagong taon,” he said.
(While it is going down, it is not irreversible and we can again have a surge in cases, which will in turn overwhelm our hospitals and health facilities. That is why we continue to work hard, especially during the Christmas season and New Year.)
Based on the COVID-19 bulletin released by the DOH on Wednesday, 59 percent of ICU beds in the country allotted for COVID-19 cases are available, and so are 61 percent of isolation beds, 71 percent of ward beds, and 82 percent of the ventilators.
The Philippines, so far, has recorded a total of 434,357 coronavirus infections, of which, 26,916 are active cases. The number of recoveries stood at 399,005, and the death toll, 8,436.
The country's first case was confirmed on Jan. 30 in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged late last year.