ICU utilization rate ‘a bit’ alarming – Palace

Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the 64-percent intensive care units (ICU) utilization rate in Metro Manila was “a bit” alarming.

“I would say [that] it is a bit of a reason to be alarmed,” he said.

“Pero sa akin po, given that the people I think are now mobilizing themselves and concentrating on lowering the numbers, tingnan po natin kung ano magiging resulta noong concerted effort ng sambayanan to halt the rise in cases Covid-19 (But for me, given that the people I think are now mobilizing themselves and concentrating on lowering the numbers, let us see what will be the result of the concerted efforts of our countrymen to halt the rise in Covid-19 cases),” he said in his press briefing on Thursday.

But Health Undersecretary and treatment czar Leopoldo Vega, who also attended the press briefing, said the 64-percent utilization rate was alarming.

“Yes. The numbers — that is already at moderate risk. It’s alarming. We can be very comfortable. But this is already 60 percent, so [it’s] alarming. But we need to do something,” Vega said in English and Filipino.

“We have to do the appropriate response in terms of capacitating hospitals, both public and private in Metro Manila,” he added.

According to Vega, 52 percent of the isolation beds and ward beds in Metro Manila are now occupied.

He said the government was looking at augmenting the bed capacity of Metro Manila once this reached critical levels by utilizing the hospitals of other regions near the capital.

Roque has repeatedly said there is no need for a stricter lockdown because the hospital capacity in the country is still adequate.

He expressed confidence that the government would be able to address the rising Covid-19 cases in order for hospital capacity to remain adequate.

However, if the rising number will not be addressed, then a stricter lockdown will still be a possibility.

“If that doesn’t happen within April, fixed po ang ating mga formulas on quarantines. So, kung talagang magiging kritikal po ang ating health care utilization rate (if the health care utilization rate will reach critical level), then that may justify changing our quarantine status,” he said.

The Health department on Thursday reported additional 5,290 additional Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number to 640,984.