Lung Center turns away COVID-19 patients
MANILA, Philippines — One of the COVID-19 referral hospitals in Metro Manila, the region hardest hit by the current surge in coronavirus infections, on Sunday announced that it could no longer accept walk-in patients because its emergency room was already operating at double its capacity and its wards were packed with cases of the severe respiratory disease.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday said 78 percent of the intensive care unit (ICU) beds for COVID-19 patients in the National Capital Region (NCR) were already being utilized, along with 70 percent of isolation beds, 60 percent of ward beds and 60 percent of ventilators.
“We are currently not accepting walk-in and uncoordinated transfer of COVID-19 patients as well as elective surgical and nonemergency medical non-COVID patients,” the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City said.
The public advisory was issued on Sunday when the DOH reported 11,028 new COVID-19 cases, the third straight day that the daily number had gone beyond 10,000.
The number of active cases as of Sunday, 135,526, was also the highest in Southeast Asia.
Hospital spokesperson Dr. Norberto Francisco said Lung Center had been full for the past two weeks.
“We are not just full; we are very full,” Francisco said in a radio interview. “We are just trying to find ways to handle severe and critical patients by adding more beds, stretchers, reclining chairs, oxygen supply, IV lines and infusion pumps.”
The hospital has already dedicated 55 percent of its 200 ward beds to COVID-19 patients, he said.
The Philippine Orthopedic Center and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, also in Quezon City, earlier declared that its COVID-19 beds were all occupied.
The DOH said the new infections pushed the country caseload to 795,051.
It declared 41,205 mildly ill and asymptomatic patients who had completed a two-week quarantine as recovered. It was the highest number of recoveries on a single day and brought the total figure for survivors to 646,100.
Two previously tagged recoveries were declared as deaths, which brought the death toll to 13,425. No new deaths were recorded by the DOH since the last COVID-19 case bulletin.
Of the 135,526 active cases, 97.4 percent are mild, 1 percent asymptomatic, 0.36 percent moderate, 0.6 percent severe and 0.6 percent critical.
The DOH said 22.7 percent of the 26,624 who were tested on Saturday were confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPi) reported that private hospitals outside Metro Manila were also starting to be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
“When we checked, it is not only the NCR but also Calabarzon, Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley that have fully occupied hospitals,” PHAPi president Dr. Jose de Grano said in a radio interview on Sunday.
Calabarzon is comprised of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.
Many of the admitted COVID-19 patients are considered mild cases, but “these hospitals have nowhere else to transfer their patients,” De Grano said.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.