Largest hospital in Mindanao adds more beds for COVID-19 patients

Published October 9, 2020, 6:03 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) converted its old orthopedic ward into a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) isolation ward as the utilization rate of the beds intended for patients infected with the highly contagious infection reached the “danger zone.”

Dr. Ricardo Audan, office-in-charge (OIC) medical center chief of the government-run hospital, said in an interview on Friday that the 20-bed orthopedic ward has been opened for COVID-19-positive patients starting last Wednesday, which increased the capacity of the hospital’s COVID-19 isolation ward to 247 beds.

As of October 8, SPMC reported that a total of 227 out of the 247 beds in the COVID-19 isolation ward have been occupied, recording a utilization rate of 91.90 percent.

Based on the critical care utilization of the Department of Health, the bed capacity in the “safe zone” when occupancy rate was from one percent to 30 percent, “warning zone” from 31 percent to 71 percent, and “danger zone” from 71 percent to 100 percent.

The SPMC also reported that 28 of the 33 intensive care unit (ICU) beds have been occupied, noting a utilization rate of 84.85 percent.

Audan said some patients in the ICU, whose conditions have improved, have already been transferred to the COVID-19 isolation ward “for observation.”

He added that mild cases in the COVID-19 isolation could be transferred either to the designated Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities or to the satellite facility of Davao Doctors Hospital (DDH) in Barangay Dumoy.

“Our strategy is to reassess the patients. If they are improving, they can continue the quarantine at the TTMF,” he said.

Moderate to critical cases are confined in the ICU while those in the TTMF are mild cases, according to him.

He said the hospital was allowed to open 300 to 500 COVID-19 beds.

Audan added that there were available facilities in the hospital which can be utilized for COVID-19 admissions, but could not readily do so due to the lack of manpower.

He said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) deployed nurses last Tuesday to run a COVID-19 facility in SPMC.

He said the hospital was planning to tap more nurses from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Davao to augment its manpower.

“We have several beds but we don’t have staffing. That’s the problem… We don’t have staff. That’s why our target is to ask help from BFP for nurses,” he added.

He said the SPMC was continuously hiring nurses, but the hospital has been receiving few applications.

“We need at least a minimum of 20 to run an area because there are three shifts,” he said.