MANILA, Philippines — Senator Joel Villanueva urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to expand its enhanced community quarantine guidelines for NCR Plus and come up with an “urgent plan’ to help decongest the hospitals that have been at the mercy of COVID-19.
Villanueva, chair of the Senate Labor Committee, said the initiative to help hospitals was absent in the IATF guidelines for the one-week ECQ imposed on NCR Plus—Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal—that was announced Saturday.
“Hospitals are hanging ‘No admission for COVID patients’ signs. Sa isang pasyenteng naghihingalo, ito na po ang pinakamasakit mong mababasa. Ano kaya po ang magandang solusyon dito?” said Villanueva in a statement Sunday. “Mukhang ito po ang missing link doon sa IATF advisory. Sana naman maihabol ito kaagad. If hospitals were ER patients, this is the urgent cure and care they require.”
(Hospitals are hanging ‘no admission for COVID patients’ signs/ For a patient who’s dying, that’s the most painful thing to see. What’s a good solution for this?)
Villanueva said the hospital, be it private or public, is the ground zero of the battle against the COVID-19 virus and that it should not be left alone to deal with the surge of cases.
Several NCR hospitals are already releasing statements that they can no longer admit patients as they are now over their bed capacity.
The Chinese General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, Ospital ng Makati, Tondo Medical Center, University of Perpetual Help Dalta Medical Center Inc., Metropolitan Medical Center, the Medical City, St. Luke’s Medical Center, and the Lung Center of the Philippines are almost at their limits.
Data from the Department of Health showed that as of March 26 of the 159 hospitals in Metro Manila 40 are in a critical state with more than 85 percent occupancy of their intensive care unit beds, isolation beds, ward beds, and the use of ventilators, while 25 are considered “high risk” with 75% to 80% occupancy.
Villanueva was bewildered because he was aware that the ECQ was imposed to help health workers “then why is there no concrete program for their alleviation?”
“While the Holy Week ECQ is a circuit breaker to stop the surge of patients, the problem our hospitals are facing cannot be solved from the demand side alone,” said Villanueva.
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