Malacañang said reports that hospitals in Metro Manila are already running out of hospital beds due to the recent surge of coronavirus cases are “fake news.”
“The critical care utilization in Metro Manila and that includes hospital beds, ICU (intensive care unit) beds, mechanical ventilator, and isolation beds is at 63 percent or still at moderate risk,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
“We are clarifying the fake news that our hospitals no longer have hospital beds. That’s not true,” he said.
According to earlier reports, the recent surge of new COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila is forcing hospitals to refer patients to other medical facilities.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing Monday that at least 11 hospitals in the capital region reported a “100-percent utilization rate of their COVID-dedicated ICU beds” last week, citing intensive care unit beds dedicated mainly for COVID patients.
These hospitals are the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, University of Perpetual Help Dalta Medical Center, AMOSUP Seamen’s Hospital, Delos Santos Medical Center, Medical Center, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, UST Hospital, Las Piñas Doctor’s Hospital, Capitol Medical Center, Metro North Medical Center, Tondo Medical Center, and Chinese General Hospital.
The Department of Health yesterday met with hospital administrators, monitoring facilities, and temporary treatment centers in Metro Manila to discuss the issue.
Vergeire said some hospitals were not able to comply with the DOH Administrative Order 2020-0016, which requires the allocation of at least 30 percent of all public and private hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.
“The reported utilization rates do not reflect the entire capacity of hospital; hence, from the general wards, we can still expand through health human resources … There is still room for every hospital to expand more,” she said.
During the meeting, the DOH asked the hospitals to “be prepared to implement an additional 20-percent surge capacity if and when needed.”
“We are ramping up our health system capacity, in part the equipping of in-patient beds to be ready for critical and severe cases,” Vergeire said.
Malacañang said Monday NCR could return to “stricter” community quarantine if hospitals get overwhelmed by the spike of COVID-19 cases in the capital region.
“We go back to stricter quarantine or provide more facilities,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online media forum when asked about the government’s possible response in case hospitals would reach its maximum capacity.