By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila will now be a COVID-19 referral center, per the Department of Health’s (DOH) request.
In a virtual press briefing on Monday, PGH Director Gerardo Legaspi said they have already been preparing over the weekend and have chosen a place in the hospital that will be exclusively for COVID-19 patients.
Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III identified PGH, Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City, and Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Caloocan City as possible institutions to serve as COVID-19 referral centers.
“The stakeholders agreed that one of the solutions to this complex problem was to organize the hospitals in a manner that will rationalize the clinical approach and the utilization of resources, in order to equip and enable the designated referral centers for a potentially protracted battle,” PGH’s statement issued on Monday read.
A total of 130 beds were committed by PGH. Gerardo said this can still increase depending on the number of patients that they will treat.
According to the PGH, admission to the referral center will initially limited to persons under investigation (PUIs) in critical condition or at high risk of deterioration, including senior citizens and/or those with underlying conditions.
Eventually, only confirmed COVID-19 patients will be sent to the referral center, while PUIs with mild symptoms will be triaged at their local health units and will be placed under quarantine.
However, Legaspi gave the assurance that essential facilities in the hospital, such as the Cancer Institute Building and the emergency room, will remain open to patients.
Hospitals in Metro Manila are dealing with a rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases, depleted workforces due to hospital staff going on quarantine, and a global shortage of protective personal equipment (PPE) amid the pandemic.
As of Monday afternoon, there are 462 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines with 33 deaths and 18 recovered patients.