Bicol demand for ICU beds at critical level; NCR low risk—DOH, OCTA

posted June 19, 2021 at 01:40 am
by  Willie Casas
Intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the Bicol region are filling up fast even as their usage in Metro Manila has declined, treatment czar and Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said Friday.

In an interview on TeleRadyo, Vega said Metro Manila is now at a low-risk position as its total health care utilization has gone down to 48 percent, even though there were pockets where the coronavirus was still spreading.

“The rate is low if you count the isolation beds, ICU, ventilators and COVID wards. If you disaggregate the ICU, that rate is lower at 51 percent. We’re in a low-risk position, so Metro Manila is freeing up more beds. Two months ago, ICUs were in critical and high-risk positions,” said Vega, even as the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila reported that its ICU was 90 percent filled.

Bicol’s hospital utilization rate, meanwhile, remains critical due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the area, Vega said.

“There’s a surge in Bicol now. We’ve been talking to Congressman [Joey] Salceda about what they need there and what strategy we need to employ to slow down the surge. Naga and Legazpi, there’s a surge that’s why testing, contact-tracing and isolating the infected have been aggressive. Those have to be done to stem the increase,” Vega said in Filipino.

Vega said Bicol has two government hospitals that can expand beds for COVID-19 patients.

But he also said that of the more than 3,000 positions they opened for doctors, nurses and medical technology workers, about 700 remain unfilled.

Bicol medical experts have appealed to the government pandemic task force to place the region under stricter quarantine measures due to the increasing COVID-19 cases.

The region, except for Naga, is under a modified general community quarantine.

As of June 14, Bicol has logged more than 15,000 COVID-19 cases, of which 488 have died from the disease. The region currently has more than 5,000 active cases or patients deemed infectious.

Meanwhile, independent researchers tracking the pandemic said the ICU utilization rate in Davao City has reached a critical level.

The OCTA Research Group said Davao City has an ICU utilization rate of 91 percent while its hospital bed utilization rate was 67 percent (moderate risk).

The city also reported 482 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the highest since the start of the pandemic in March last year, OCTA said.

Davao had a one-week growth rate of 26 percent and a positivity rate of 14 percent over an average of 3,000 RT-PCR tests each day. The cities of Tagum, Digos, San Pablo, Cebu, and Baguio also reported a rise in new cases.

Also on Friday, the PGH said the number of its COVID-19 patients has plateaued but has not gone down.

In an interview on ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo, PGH spokesman Dr. Jonas Del Rosario said the hospital’s ICU was still 90 percent full.

“COVID is still here. There are pockets of spread so we have to be very careful. We are seeing the surge in Bicol and some parts of Visayas. It’s really a reminder that it can happen anytime,” he said.

OCTA on Friday said the National Capital Region (NCR)’s average number of new COVID-19 cases per day dropped to 758 over the last seven days.

Its latest monitoring report showed the figure accounts for an 18 percent decrease for the period of June 11 to 17 compared to the previous week.

From June 4 to 10, NCR’s average of new Covid-19 cases per day is 924.

“This corresponds to an average daily attack rate (ADAR) of 5.49 per 100,000, which classifies it as moderate risk,” OCTA said.

NCR’s reproduction number over the same period was 0.71.

Its positivity rate was 7 percent with 35 percent hospital bed occupancy, 46 percent intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy, and 31 percent mechanical ventilator occupancy.

The group also reported that six local government units in the region had an ADAR below 5 – classifying them as moderate-low risk.

These were Malabon, Navotas, Caloocan, Marikina, Manila, and Quezon City.

Pateros, Navotas, Malabon, and San Juan had the lowest number of new cases per day over the past week with less than 20 new cases per day.

In terms of health care utilization rates, Pateros logged above 70 percent hospital bed utilization.

Meanwhile, Parañaque and San Juan had an ICU bed utilization rate higher than 70 percent.

The Philippines logged 6,833 new COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the total number of infections to 1,346,276, as five laboratories were not able to submit their data on time, the DOH said.

The DOH reported 110 new fatalities, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 23,385.

The DOH also reported 3,441 patients who recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 1,261,115.

The DOH also reported 61,776 active cases, of which 92.2 percent weremild, 3.7 percent were asymptomatic, 1.2 percent were critical, 1.7 percent were severe, and 1.22 percent were moderate.

Nationwide, 59 percent of the ICU beds, 46 percent of the isolation beds, 47 percent of the ward beds, and 37 percent of the ventilators, were in use.

In Metro Manila, 46 percent of the ICU beds, 36 percent of the isolation beds, 33 percent of the ward beds, and 32 percent of the ventilators, were in use.

Topics: intensive care unit , OCTA Research Group , Leopoldo Vega , COVID-19
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by The Standard. Comments are views by readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with The Standard editorial standards, The Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.