While the Department of Health (DOH) warned private hospitals to increase their COVID-19 capacity to 30 amid a surge of coronavirus cases, a private hospitals’ group said their hospitals could only allot 20 percent of their total bed allocation for virus patients because of a lack of nurses.
Dr. Jose Rene De Grano, president of the Private Hospitals Association Philippines (PHAPi), said one nurse could previously handle five to eight virus patients with mild symptoms, and one to three patients with moderate to severe symptoms.
“We said it would depend, we will try as much as possible. But what can we do if we can’t get additional nurses to attend to additional beds?” he said.
“Majority of hospitals said they have received a written warning that they need to follow this Bayanihan 2 directive. They said what can they do if there’s no additional number of nurses. Private hospitals are doing the best they can,” said De Grano.
They had earlier appealed to the government to augment private hospitals’ workforce as COVID-19 cases continued to surge in the Metro Manila area.
Meanwhile, St. Luke’s Medical Center chief medical officer said the two-week strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in Metro Manila and nearby provinces from March 29 to April 11 was not enough to address the COVID-19, as the surge still overwhelmed the hospitals.
“It’s a warning for everyone that even if we had two weeks of ECQ, considering this unexpected surge since I think Friday night and the whole Saturday and Sunday, puro ICU-able eh,” Dr. Benjamin Campomanes Jr. said in an interview on “24 Oras Weekend.”
The Department of Health (DOH) said that 68 percent of the country’s intensive care unit beds and 47 percent of the mechanical ventilators were already utilized. The PHAPi said the solution to the ongoing health crisis was not just the lockdowns.
They said contact tracing and vaccinations were also needed.
De Grano said intensive contact tracing and a faster pace of vaccinations were key to solving the pandemic.
More than 1.2 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 have been administered as of April 13, government data showed.
In their latest vaccine statistics bulletin, the DOH and National Task Force Against COVID-19 said 1,255,716 doses have been administered out of the 3,025,600 doses delivered to the country.
A total of 1,093,651 people have gotten their first shot and 162,065 individuals have received both doses since the start of the rollout on March 1.
In other developments, health authorities announced 9,628 new infections, bringing the coronavirus disease 2019 total to 945,745, as death toll breached the 16,000 mark.
The death toll was logged at 16,048 with 88 new fatalities.
The totals do not include data from four laboratories which failed to submit their data on time.
The DOH said the new cases brought the number of active cases in the country to 141,375, of which, 96.9 percent were mild, 1.5 percent were asymptomatic, 0.5 percent were critical, 0.7 percent were severe, and 0.43 percent were moderate.
The total number of recoveries rose to 788,322 after 9,266 more patients recovered from respiratory illness.
The country continues to battle a surge in COVID-19 cases, which health authorities have attributed to the new variants, increased mobility and relaxed adherence to health protocols.
The country experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the variants of the virus and non-compliance with health protocols, especially in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
In related developments, the country’s COVID-19 referral center is now able to respond to callers more efficiently, weeks after being swamped with hundreds of calls daily, the Department of Health said.
In an online press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said more manpower and equipment were deployed to the One Hospital Command Center (OHCC), which was recently expanded into the One COVID Referral Center.
Treatment czar Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega earlier said the referral center was being swamped with up to 300 calls a day amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The center connects COVID-19 patients needing medical attention to healthcare providers.
Metro Manila residents can call the following numbers for medical assistance: 02-886-505-00, 0915-777-7777, or 0919-977-3333.
“The calls to the OHCC have been decongested. The traffic is no longer as bad,” Vergeire said.