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St. Luke's still at full capacity for COVID-19 patients

St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City and Quezon City are still at full capacity managing COVID-19 patients, the hospital administration said on Monday.

“As of today, April 5, 2021, the two SLMC hospitals remain at full capacity for COVID-19 patients for both COVID wards and COVID ICU,” the hospital said in a statement.

St. Luke's first announced full capacity for COVID-19 cases two weeks ago.

Despite the increased bed allocation for COVID cases, St. Luke’s said there is still a significant number of COVID-19 patients, including critical ones, still waiting to be admitted in the emergency room.

The hospital asked other health facilities and local government units to coordinate with its Emergency Room team before transferring infected patients to ensure that immediate care will be given to them.

Interviewed on Dobol B TV, St. Luke’s chief medical officer Dr. Benjamin Campomanes Jr. said they also need more manpower who will manage the wards that they will add for COVID-19 cases.

In St. Luke’s in Quezon City, Campomanes said 16 patients were waiting in the Emergency Room while eight were waiting for ICU beds to be available.

In St. Luke’s Global City, on the other hand, eight patients were waiting in the Emergency Room while four were waiting for ICU beds, Campomanes said.

Aside from facilities, Campomanes said that St. Luke’s is also running out of medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, one of the dialysis treatment units of St. Luke’s was temporarily closed after a healthcare worker contracted COVID-19.

Patients will have to wait in long lines or look for another health facility to receive dialysis treatment, according to Campomanes.

The Filipino Nurses United and the Alliance of Health Workers have earlier warned that the healthcare system is on the verge of collapsing amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Philippine Hospital Association said hospitals have already been "overwhelmed and overrun" amid the surge of cases mainly due to their depleted and overworked manpower.

However, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega has denied that the health system is collapsing.

"Hindi naman talaga tayo talo [We are not really losing]. The health system is not collapsing. It's just that we are trying to manage the challenge of the surge," said Vega, who is also the country's treatment czar.

On Sunday, the Department of Health reported 11,028 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total infections to 795,051.

With 41,205 new recoveries, DOH said the total recoveries climbed 646,100. At least 135,526 cases remain active. The death toll also rose to 13,425 with two new fatalities. —KBK, GMA News