Even though the government heeded the medical community’s call for a two-week “timeout” to stem the spread of COVID-19, some hospitals were still at full capacity and health workers were still exhausted, a nurses' group said Monday.
According to Raffy Tima’s report on “24 Oras,” staff of COVID-19 referral hospitals in Metro Manila who are members of the Filipino Nurses United (FNU) group said the number of patients had not decreased despite the stricter quarantine rules.
“Marami pa rin pong pasyente sa ospital. ‘Yun pong sinasabi natin na kulang na ang ating mga beds, na nasa danger zone na tayo na umaabot sa 82 percent ang occupancy, ganyan pa rin po ang kalagayan ngayon,” FNU National President Maristela Abenojar said.
“Hindi pa rin nagbabago ang kanilang kalagayan sa mga referral hospitals para sa COVID. Kapos pa rin ang ating mga nurses, doctor, at iba pang health worker. Kaya po matindi pa rin ang pagod na kanilang nararanasan,” she added.
The Philippine General Hospital, on the other hand, said the admission of COVID-19 patients dropped slightly under the modified enhanced community quarantine from 200 per day to 180.
However, the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital, which is also a COVID-19 referral center, was still fully occupied.
At the Lung Center of the Philippines, the ICU for COVID-19 cases was at full capacity while 80 percent of rooms for moderate COVID-19 cases were occupied.
Meanwhile, a group of experts disagreed with a proposal to reduce the beds from non-COVID wards to augment beds for COVID-19 patients.
“We haven’t really fully dealt with the measles outbreak and then there’s also dengue now, leptospirosis, among many other conditions,” Dr. Gideon Lasco of Scientists Unite Against COVID-19 said.
“And even the lockdown itself: ano ‘yung health implications ng lockdown? People are sedentary, tumataas ang non-communicable diseases, pa’no ‘yung nutrition,” he added.
The Shape Up to Defeat COVID-19 group, for its part, pushed for widespread swab testing and improved contact tracing and isolation.
“Hindi siguro ‘yung lockdown lang ang makakapagbigay ng solusyon kundi pagsama-samahin natin ‘yung mga natutunan natin,” Dr. Eleanor Jara said.
A budget for health workforce augmentation and added benefits for medical personnel are included in the proposed Bayanihan Law 2. — Julia Mari Ornedo/DVM, GMA News