The National Task Force (NTF) Against Coronavirus Disease proposed on Tuesday the establishment of four hospitals in Metro Manila that would solely cater to COVID-19 patients with the continued rise in the number of infected individuals.
NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. raised the idea to President Duterte during a recent meeting stressing the need with more metro hospitals now quickly filling up.
Last week, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that Metro Manila’s bed capacity has already reached the “danger zone” with 76 percent of beds allotted for COVID-19 patients already occupied.
The DOH mandates hospitals to provide 30 percent of its total bed capacity for COVID-19 patients.
But according to Galvez, hospitals are now resorting to using beds originally intended for non-COVID patients.
“‘Yung non-COVID po ang naco-compromise, ‘yung mga tinatawag nating may dialysis, ‘yung mga may cancer, ‘yon po ang mga nagiging casualty po (The non-COVID patients are the ones being compromised, those undergoing dialysis, the cancer patients, they are being the casualties),” he said.
According to Galvez, this could only be mitigated with the establishment of four hospitals dedicated to COVID-19 patients as done by China in February.
“We will be recommending na kung magkaroon po tayo ng zoning sa NCR [National Capital Region], mayroon po dapat tayo na apat na COVID hospitals parang ‘yung dedicated na hospitals na ginawa po ng China (We will be recommending that if we ever have a zoning in the National Capital Region, we should have four COVID hospitals like in China),” he said.
Galvez said they are looking at the mega emergency room that is currently being constructed at the Quirino Memorial Hospital in Quezon City, which can house 50 ICu beds as possible site dedicated to COVID-19 patients.
Galvez is also eyeing the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City where about 275 ICU and isolation beds can be used by COVID-19 patients.
Relatedly, the chief implementer directed Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary and isolation czar Mark Villar to convert some evacuation centers into isolation facilities.
“More than 167 na evacuation building ang naipagawa niya at ngayon po nagagamit na po natin ‘yung 68 doon sa COVID patients. More than 2,500 na po ang gumagamit doon (He [Villar] has constructed 167 evacuation buildings and we are using 68 facilities for COVID patients. More than 2,500 patients are housed there),” Galvez said.