As more hospitals report full occupancy of COVID wards, DOH says more beds available elsewhere

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MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday allayed fears that the recent increase in COVID-19 cases will result in the congestion of many hospitals, especially with some of the biggest in Metro Manila reporting full occupancy of their coronavirus wards.

“Ang mga numbers po na ito ay hindi nagre-represent ng lahat ng beds ng ospital kung hindi para lamang sa COVID-19 beds,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said after presenting the situation of hospitals in different regions during a televised briefing.

(The numbers do not represent all of the beds in a hospital but only refer to COVID-19 beds.)

“Bagaman may mga ospital na pong reported na nasa maximum capacity na ng kanilang COVID-dedicated beds, below 50% pa po ang ating occupancy on a national scale at sinisiguro po natin na hindi pa ito tataas,” she added.

(While there are hospitals that reported a maximum capacity of their COVID-dedicated beds, the occupancy on a national scale is below 50% and we are ensuring that this won’t increase further.)

However, Vergeire acknowledged that there is a rising trend in the occupancy of beds and equipment dedicated for COVID-19 cases.

During the briefing, Vergeire presented the hospitals that are no longer able to accommodate COVID-19 patients because they have reached full occupancy for COVID beds:

  • University of Santo Tomas Hospital
  • F.Y. Manalo Medical Foundation, Inc.
  • Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center
  • Qualimed Health Network Sta. Rosa
  • UPH-Dr. Jose G. Tamayo Medical University Foundation, Inc.
  • Tricity Medical Center Inc.
  • Westlake Medical Center
  • Antipolo City Medical Hospital
  • Ortigas Hospital and Healthcare Center

Despite saying that the national rate of COVID bed occupancy is below 50%, Vergeire said Filipinos should not be complacent, especially since there are certain regions with higher number of cases and higher occupancy rates.

She said residents from these regions should continue to practice minimum health standards such as the wearing of masks and proper hygiene.

The National Capital Region, which has been identified as the epicenter of the outbreak in the country, has the highest rate of occupancy with 73.7% for isolation beds and 77.4% for COVID ward beds.

Hospitals with 70% to 100% occupancy are within the danger zone while those with 30% to 70% occupancy are in the warning zone.

Other regions that are in the warning zone in terms of COVID ward beds occupancy are: Region 4A, Region 5, Region 7 and Region 11. In terms of isolation bed occupancy, there are more regions in the warning zone: Regions 3, Region 4A, Region 7, Region 8, Region 9, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Overall, the Philippines has 1,312 hospitals nationwide with a total of 107,508 beds.

Vergeire said only 14,945 have so far been allocated for COVID beds and there are 17,307 more beds that can be allocated.

Table from DOH

The DOH has said before that not all hospitals have followed their prescribed allocation of 30% of beds for COVID wards.

“Kaya po itong 49% occupancy of the current COVID-19 dedicated beds, actually ay nasa 22% pa lamang po tayo ng ating ideal total COVID-dedicated beds kung susundin lamang po natin ang prescribed 30% bed allocation sa mga public at private hospitals sa bansa,” Vergeire said.

(That is why the 49% occupancy of the current COVID-19 dedicated beds is actually just at 22% of our ideal number of COVID-dedicated beds if the hospitals will follow our prescribed 30% bed allocation for public and private hospitals in the country.)

As of Tuesday, COVID-19 cases in the Philippines reached a total of 57,545, of which 35,483 were live cases. 

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