MM, Calabarzon hospitals bursting at the seams: DOH

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    AMID the continued surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday said the health care system in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Calabarzon (Region IV-A) is already in the “danger” zone.

    In a televised press briefing, Health undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted that COVID-19 bed utilization rate in the NCR and Calabarzon is already higher than 70 percent.

    “Umabot na po tayo sa danger zone sa iba’t ibang klase ng beds, partikular po sa dalawang rehiyon: sa NCR at Region IV-A (We are already in the danger zone for different types of beds, particularly in the two regions: NCR and Region IV-A),” said Vergeire.

    For intensive care unit (ICU) beds, NCR and Calabarzon are both experiencing 73 percent utilization rate, while for ward beds there is an 86 percent utilization in the NCR and 72 percent utilization in Calabarzon.

    For isolation beds, Metro Manila already has an 82 percent utilization rate, while Calabarzon is still in the warning zone with a 60 percent utilization rate.

    Aside from the NCR and Calabarzon, Vergeire also admitted that current data on the country’s healthcare capacity showed that it is already in the “warning zone”.

    “Mula sa 16,388 COVID-19 dedicated beds, 8,577 ay kasalukuyang ginagamit. Ito po ay katumbas ng 52.3% o nangangahulugang nasa warning zone. (From 16,388 COVID-19 dedicated beds, 8,577 are currently utilized. This is equivalent to 52.3% or meaning we are already in the warning zone),” said Vergeire.

    “Ano ang ibig sabihin nito? Nationally, malapit nang ma-overwhelm ang health system natin. (What does it mean? Nationally, our health system is close to being overwhelmed),” she added.

    Broken down into types of COVID-19 beds, data shows that ICU beds in the country already has a 53 percent utilization, isolation beds has a 51 percent utilization, while ward beds already has a 57 percent utilization. The usage percentage, according to Vergeire, is considered as being in the warning zone.

    Already in the warning zone are the ICU beds in Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Davao Region.

    For isolation beds, those in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Davao Region are also in the warning zone.

    Also reaching the warning zone in their ward bed utilization are Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Davao Region.

    And with the health system of the country close to being overwhelmed already, the DOH is renewing its appeal to the public to adhere to stay at home and always observe minimum health standards when leaving their houses.

    Similarly, Vergeire said they are also hastening the implementation of the One Hospital Command System, which aims to enhance the coordination between all public and private hospitals as well as with temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMFs).

    “Through this system, we can better manage our referral system that will help ensure that hospitals will not be overwhelmed,” said Vergeire.

    Primarily, she said the One Hospital Command System will put premium on Metro Manila since majority of hospitals are in the NCR.

    “And since Region IV-A is just beside NCR, we can also easily refer patients from Calabarzon to Metro Manila,” said Vergeire.