DOH: Healthcare utilization still ‘manageable’ despite increase in COVID-19 cases
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) said Monday that the healthcare utilization in the country remains at a “manageable” level as it rejected for now the possibility of imposing another timeout for medical staff amid the increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases.
In an online press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the country’s healthcare system is not overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients as of now.
“Masyado naheighten ‘yung balita. When we checked and went around, nakita natin na dumadami talaga ang mga tao sa ER (emergency room), ‘yung mga suspects or ‘yung may mga sintomas ng COVID. Pero to say that the system is overwhelmed, no,” she said when asked about reports that some hospitals have reached full capacity for coronavirus patients.
(The reports were heightened. When we checked and went around, we saw that the number of patients in ER really increased. But to say that the system is overwhelmed is wrong.)
“Kapag tiningnan po natin ang healthcare utilization natin, we are still at that manageable level na meron pa po tayong almost 50 percent na pwede pang maka-accomodate ng ating mga pasyente,” she added.
(If we will look at the healthcare utilization, we are still at that manageable level where we have almost 50 percent available bed capacity that can accommodate patients.)
However, Vergeire acknowledged that some hospital directors and medical center chiefs have told the DOH that the number of COVID-19 patients in their facilities have increased.
She added that the DOH also met with its regional directors as well as hospital officials and local chief executives in order to prepare for the possible continued rise in coronavirus cases.
But despite the increasing number of COVID-19 patients, Vergeire said imposing another timeout for health frontliners may not be timely for now.
“Sa ngayon hindi pa natin nakikita ‘yung ganitong klaseng intervention,” she said. “Kailangan natin balansehin and this kind of timeout would not really be recommended at this point.”
(For now we don’t see the need for this kind of intervention… We need to balance everything and this kind of timeout is not recommended at this point.)
She added, however, that the government will continue to monitor if the health workers will need a timeout, but for now, the DOH is mobilizing local government units to carry out localized responses to the increase in cases.
The national government previously granted the appeal of the medical community for a timeout as it reimposed strict lockdown measures in Metro Manila and other nearby provinces when the country saw a surge of COVID-19 cases in August last year.
On Sunday, the DOH reported an additional 3,276 cases of COVID-19, pushing the number of total coronavirus cases in the country to 594,412. It was the third straight day that the health department reported new cases that breached the 3,000-mark.
Of the total tally, 36,043 are active cases, 545,853 are recoveries, and 12,516 are deaths.
The OCTA Research, which monitors the trends of COVID-19 in the Philippines, earlier said that the country is projected to have 5,000 to 6,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by the end of March.
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