DOH: Metro Manila hospitals can handle up to 50% postholiday COVID surge
MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila hospitals can handle a surge in COVID-19 cases that may occur after the holiday season, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a news briefing, Vega said the Department of Health (DOH) was building up hospital capacity to meet a possible postholiday surge in COVID-19 cases.
“We are doing the expansion of hospitals for [a possible] surge . . . in the first quarter of next year,” Vega said.
He said hospitals in the metropolis could handle a surge of up to 50 percent, beyond which the situation would be “really difficult” because hospital staffs would be overwhelmed.
Vega said hospital workers could handle only a 30 to 50 percent increase in cases.
He said the DOH had increased capacity for severe and critical COVID-19 cases in public and private hospitals throughout the country.
Vega said the DOH boosted severe and critical capacity in public hospitals in Metro Manila and across the country by 50 to 100 percent with funding from the Department of Budget and Management.
With assistance from the Department of Public Works and Highways, he said, the DOH is also building field hospitals for severe and critical cases in Quezon City and Batangas.
Currently, he said, use of space in private hospitals in Metro Manila was nearly 18 percent, while in public hospitals the use rate was 30 to 33 percent.
Vega said he hoped the authorities would strictly enforce public health measures during the New Year celebrations so that the expected surge in COVID-19 cases would not be too high.
He also called on the public to avoid using firecrackers to welcome the new year to avoid injuries that could cause overcrowding in emergency rooms.
“We really need to avoid firecrackers so that we won’t overstrain hospital capacities,” Vega said.
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