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DOH’s Vega: Hospital occupancy in Regions 3, 4 see spike amid COVID-19 case surge

The hospital occupancy rates in Regions 3 and 4 have also been increasing as Metro Manila and nearby provinces battle a surge in COVID-19 cases that has left several hospitals near or at full capacity, the country’s treatment czar said Tuesday.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said the One Hospital Command Center, a referral system for healthcare providers and medical transportation, is sometimes forced to redirect COVID-19 patients from Metro Manila to hospitals in Region 3 and 4.

“Especially moderate and severe [cases] that cannot be accommodated especially now in Metro Manila, we’d look for a space for them through the One Hospital Command [Center] in Region 3 and Region 4,” he said in an interview on CNN-Philippines.

“We’ve also noticed that there’s a spike in those areas, especially in the private institutions and even in the public,” he added.

Vega also said the DOH has asked the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in Pampanga to allocate more beds for COVID-19 patients.

“The challenge really is we need to have more infrastructure in terms of this kind of pandemic wherein the institutions… are choked, especially with the emergency room and the intensive care unit, in terms of the volume,” he said.

The DOH has set up modular tents and hospital extensions to aid eight hospitals in Metro Manila that have been strained by the surge. 

Vega added that proposals to turn some hotels into health facilities could help “lessen the impact” of the spike in cases on the health system.

The Philippines has 143,726 active cases as of Monday afternoon. Of this number, 97.5% are mild, 1.1% are asymptomatic, 0.6% are severe, 0.5% are critical, and 0.34% are moderate cases. — Julia Mari Ornedo/RSJ, GMA News