MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is now requiring private hospitals to allocate 20 percent of their bed capacity for coronavirus patients, an official said yesterday.
At a media forum, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have amended the guidelines on bed allocation for COVID-19 patients in both private and public hospitals.
For private hospitals, the required beds assigned for COVID cases were reduced from 30 percent to 20 percent. However, these institutions are mandated to increase their allocation by 10 percent should there be further surge in cases.
The amendment was made after 15 hospitals in Metro Manila earlier declared their COVID wards already full or near capacity as they admitted that they could not comply with the 30-percent requirement.
“For public hospitals, they are mandated that 30 percent of their bed capacity must be allocated for COVID-19. If there will be a surge in cases, it can increase to 50 percent,” Vergeire said, adding that if necessary, this may increase to 70 percent.
Vergeire also announced that the DOH has launched the “One Hospital Command” program to decongest health facilities for patients with severe respiratory disease.
She said the program was designed to facilitate a “network” of hospitals and temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMF) or quarantine facilities.
“Through this, infected individuals who are asymptomatic and have mild cases will be cared for at TTMF and not in hospitals anymore,” she said.
“All hospitals will have an incident command system wherein a patient can be transferred to other hospitals if necessary. We think this is very appropriate and very rational, and this is the answer to the congestion of our hospitals,” Vergeire added.
Meanwhile, Beverly Lorraine Ho, director of the DOH health promotion and communication services, said the provinces of Batanes, Quirino, Aurora and Dinagat Island have remained COVID-free as of July 21.
Ho said this is because most of these provinces are isolated.
DOH data show that in April, there were 26 provinces free from COVID-19.
She also reported that the country’s national case doubling time (CDT) was 8.48 days on July 20, compared to 8.18 days last week.
“This is a good indication because if our CDT is high, it means that the spread of the virus is slow,” she said.
Ho explained that while the rise in COVID cases is still manageable, the number of new cases has not been controlled.
With the country’s most vulnerable sectors reeling from the economic impact of the coronavirus 2019 pandemic, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles reiterated yesterday the administration’s commitment to ensure better lives for Filipinos in the next months.
Speaking at the third pre-State of the Nation Address forum, Nograles said the government has been supporting all sectors in need such as the poor, the youth, displaced workers and struggling farmers. — Christina Mendez
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