UP-PGH wards for COVID-19 patients finished in 5 days

Portion of two wards at UP-PGH dedicated to COVID-19 patients, which were finished in just five days. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), one of the hospitals designated for COVID-19 cases, now has two wards retrofitted to care for patients positive for the disease and those showing symptoms in a project that was completed in just five days.

Although miniscule in comparison with China’s feat of building an entire hospital in just 10 days in Wuhan, the city where the COVID-19 pandemic started, the UP-PGH project illustrated the urgency with which the health sector is treating the pandemic and the capacity of the government and private sector to deliver when needed.

The retrofitting work, finished by construction firm DMCI in the short period, has negative pressure rooms that prevent contaminated air from going out. The wards are also equipped with ventilators and have separate access points for patients and medical staff.

In a statement, DMCI said to prevent exposure of its workers, much of the construction process was done outside the hospital.

Walls, exhaust frames and stairs were prefabricated. The wards are isolated from the rest of the hospital. Installation of the prefab materials were handled by a DMCI team experienced in prefab work.

In the statement, DMCI said its workers beat the PGH deadline by completing the project in just five days. Earlier, UP-PGH Director Dr. Gerardo “Gap” Legaspi said the hospital needed at least a week to fully prepare for its role as a COVID-19 referral facility.

DMCI said “much of the credit goes to our workers who rose to the challenge of delivering this project on time and in accordance with social distancing and sanitation protocols.”

Jorge A. Consunji, DMCI president and CEO, in the statement said the project would not be possible without the help of UP-PGH, the architect, Dan Lichauco, and Bloomberry Foundation.