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Private hospitals' COVID-19 beds nearing full capacity —PHAPI

Private hospitals are nearing their full capacity for COVID-19 cases amid the increase in the number of infected patients, according to the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PHAPI).

“Halos pare-pareho din po ngayon [ang mga hospital] kasi nga ho nag-increase 'yung ating positive na mga pasyente parang katulad noong una,” PHAPI president Dr. Rustico Jimenez said in an interview on Unang Balita on Tuesday.

He made the statement when asked about hospitals' status after St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City and in Taguig City, as well as the Makati Medical Center, declared full capacity for COVID-19 intensive care unit beds.

Jimenez also noted that many patients with mild cases would rather stay in private hospitals than in isolation facilities run by the government.

“Kaya lang po karamihan ng mga pasyente ayaw naman lumipat doon dahil natatakot, dahil siyempre malayo sa bahay nila,” he said.

“Usually mga pasyente pumupunta doon sa private hospital na malapit sa bahay nila e, para madadalaw sila o mabibigyan ng pagkain. So ang nagyayari, full packed 'yung mga private hospitals,” Jimenez added.

The PHAPI president agreed that the capacity of COVID-19 facilities in National Capital Region hospitals is in danger zone. However, he noted that health facilities now are more prepared compared to the earlier months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Health (DOH) issued an order to hospitals to allocate 30% of its resources for COVID-19 patients, but acknowledged that not all hospitals can comply given that they have varying resources.

Later in the day, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said hospital confinement will be limited to severe and critical COVID-19 cases to avoid hospital congestion.

“Our hospitals should not be congested so it can treat the severe and critical cases. Hindi puedeng pati mild cases ay doon sa ospital. Hindi natin puedeng hayaan na ganoon ang mangyari kasi maooverwhelm ang ating hospital system,” Duque said.

“We should have seamless integration sa paggamit ng facilities,” he added.

Healthcare workers

Jimenez, meanwhile, raised concern over the lack of available health care workers as some of them were already suffering from COVID-19.

“'Yun po talaga ang problema natin kasi nga po limited na talaga ang ating healthcare workers,” Jimenez said.

According to him, some healthcare workers are on duty for 12 to 16 hours just to cover the shift of their infected co-workers.

As of Monday, the DOH recorded 57,006 COVID-19 cases, with 20,371 recoveries and 1,599 fatalities. KBK/RSJ, GMA News