MANILA, Philippines — Private hospitals called on the national government and the Department of Health to designate hospitals for patients infected with the new coronavirus as the growing health crisis overwhelm healthcare facilities in the Philippines.
Eleven hospital administrators said an “alarming” number of health workers are under 14-day quarantine, while the number of persons under investigation flocking their emergency rooms is increasing every day.
Regular rooms have been converted into isolation areas, leaving less for non-COVID-19 high-risk patients and even intensive care unit rooms are getting full, they added.
The Philippines reported 217 COVID-19 infections, with 17 deaths. The number of PUIs stood at 380, while the count for persons under monitoring was at 4,929 as of Thursday.
“Our collective call to action is to centralize all efforts and resources into ONE or TWO COVID-19 hospitals, adequately equipped and invested upon by the government, designated to receive, screen and treat PUIs and COVID-19 positive patients when the allowable number of cases per hospital, private and public, is exceeded,” the hospital heads said.
“We are urgently appealing for DOH to mobilize this plan, challenging as it may be, but which the private hospitals are willing and ready to facilitate.”
Lung Center as COVID-19 hospital?
Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the agency is looking at the possibility of making the Philippine Lung Center of the Philippines as a designated hospital for COVID-19-infected individuals.
But he said this will be hard at the moment since there are a lot of non-COVID-19 patients who are still being treated at the Lung Center.
The hospital heads stressed the execution of the plan will allow the concentration of resources, speedy patient processing and efficient protocol execution.
“With the COVID-19 hospital(s) in place, the other institutions can then focus on the bigger population who need to be treated for the rest of the other conditions other than the COVID-19 infection,” they said, adding they are ready to take in the non-COVID-19 patients of the designated COVID-19 hospitals.
‘We are scared’
This unprecedented and growing medical crisis creates a shortage of supplies, personal protective equipment, ICUs and healthcare workers.
“The panic is escalating, mortality is increasing, our supplies of PPEs are running short, our frontline staff are increasingly getting depleted as more of them are quarantined or physically and emotionally exhausted, and a number of our medical colleagues are already hooked to respirators fighting for their lives in various ICUS,” the hospital chiefs said.
They added: “We have every reason to be scared; we are, indeed, very scared because we feel that we are on our own to face our countrymen in dire need of help.”
The signatories included hospitals that have taken in a large proportion of cases found positive for COVID-10, namely Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City and St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Also signing the appeal were Adventist Medical Center, Asian Hospital Medical Center, Fatima University Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospital, Medical Center Manila, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center.
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar)
March 19, 2020