With at least three hospitals in Metro Manila having declared they would no longer accept patients with coronavirus disease 2019, the critical care capacity of hospitals is approaching the danger zone of 70 percent.
St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, and the Makati Medical Center on Monday said their respective COVID-19 wards have reached full capacity. This is the second time the three hospitals have declared full capacity since late March, a few days after the enhanced community quarantine was imposed in Luzon.
Data presented by Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega showed the number of occupied isolation and intensive care unit beds and mechanical ventilators for COVID-19 cases are increasing over time. There are 573 out of 739 ICU beds occupied as of July 8. As a response, the Department of Health is coming up with a system for hospital management that will allow patients intending to go to private hospitals but unable to be given access to be referred to public institutions or other specialty centers that handle COVID.
The critical care capacity of three major private hospitals in Metro Manila reaching capacity should serve as a warning for everyone in the country to be extra careful as the COVID-19 infections and confirmed cases continue to rise in the country after quarantine restrictions were lifted by the government. Avoiding infection through the strict and consistent observance of precautionary protocols such as mask wearing, physical distancing, and obsessive hand washing is still our best chance at preventing the spread of the coronavirus and further stressing an already burdened health care system.
This becomes even more important in the provinces where critical care capacities of hospitals are significantly lower than the national capital region.
COVID-19 is still surging in the Philippines and at this point, it is entirely up to Filipinos to fend for themselves, in their own ways. Based on the statistics and the results, our government’s best efforts over the past three months may have been found wanting but even if we are frustrated, disappointed and fearful, this is a fight that we cannot afford to surrender.
Let us work with our loved ones and everyone within our spheres of influence to continue heightening our defenses against COVID-19.*