Hospitals report rise in COVID-19 daily admissions after Metro Manila shift to GCQ

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 15 2020 11:13 PM

MANILA - Referral hospitals in Metro Manila have reported an increase in admissions of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients after the National Capital Region shifted to the eased general community quarantine (GCQ) June 1.

The Philippine General Hospital (PGH), the country's lead hospital in treating coronavirus infections, is now admitting an average of 172 COVID-19 patients daily from just 70-80 cases a day.

This matched the highest number of admissions PGH had in April. Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, the director of PGH, said the numbers went up again this month.

“The last 8 days, we noted some increase in admissions. We were able to handle that by discharging patients or shifting the beds. Tumaas 'yan dahan-dahan, naging 100, 150,” Legaspi said.

One out of the four COVID-19 wards set up by PGH was earlier closed to a low number of patients, but the hospital had to reopen it due to the rise in admissions.

For a week now, PGH has been receiving COVID-19 patients referred by other hospitals from the cities of Manila, Parañaque, Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Las Piñas, and even by the Bureau of Corrections and quarantine facilities.

Legaspi said their COVID-19 wards are up to 70 percent capacity and that they can still accept cases.

“Noong magkaroon ng accessible testing 'yung sa mga ibang ospital nagkaroon ng positive itatawag na sa amin, nade-deload, decongest ang ibang ospital. Not alarmingly high, especially if you look at the severity of the patients. Marami pa ring mild and moderate,” Legaspi explained.

The Lung Center of the Philippines also reported a spike in number of coronavirus patients since the first week of June.

Dr. Tony Ramos, director of LCP, said they increased their bed capacity to accommodate new COVID-19 patients.

“Prior to that we were hitting mid 60-65 [cases] then our high number was 79 and we were alarmed,” Ramos said.

PGH and LCP officials were not surprised when the number of coronavirus patients increased after government lifted the strict enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila.

“It’s something that we expected and something that we prepared for,” Ramos said.

“Itong GCQ, MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine), gave us time to prepare the hospitals. If ever na magkaroon ng surge, kaya na ngayon kaysa dati,” Legaspi said.

They urged the public to remain vigilant and practice health protocols to help fight the pandemic.

“From 79, nag-settle siya sa mid 60s like now we have 64 presently admitted patients. Just the same since we are receiving [patients], we can’t be unmindful. We are still on the lookout,” he added.

In San Lazaro Hospital, the number of coronavirus patients remain steady at around 30 per day. But the hospital's spokesperson Ferdinand de Guzman said the number of people requesting for a swab test has gone up.

“Marami po ang nagpapa-test, swabbing for RT PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test kit), nire-refer sa amin. This morning lumagpas na kami sa 60 and it’s only half day. 'Yung iba exposure,” he said.

To date, the Philippines has 26,420 coronavirus cases with 6,252 recoveries and 1,098, according to data from the Department of Health.

Worldwide, nearly 8 million people have been infected with the illness, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. Of those, 3.7 million have already recovered and 433,000 have died.