‘Reality is very different’: Robredo belies DOH data on available COVID-19 hospital beds

Published March 29, 2021, 6:15 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Vice President and opposition leader Leni Robredo on Monday, March 29, disputed the Department of Health’s (DOH) daily COVID-19 report about the availability of hospital beds for infected patients in the country.

Vice President and opposition leader Leni Robredo

In a Facebook post, the vice president said the government must provide accurate data to get a clear picture of the COVID-19 situation.

“Availability of accurate data is crucial, specially in crisis situations. I hope they do something about this,” Robredo stressed.

DOH’s case bulletin on Monday showed that in the National Capital Region (NCR), only 76 percent of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, 70 percent of isolation beds, 59 percent of ward beds, and 57 percent of ventilators have been utilized.

The lady official said these figures “would seem like we still have room in our hospitals to accommodate new patients.”

“The reality is very different. All week last week, until this weekend, we have been getting distress signals from relatives of patients who are asking to help them find a hospital,” she said.

“We have people desperately trying to call the One Hospital Command Center and people trying to get in touch with hospitals as far north as Nueva Ecija and hospitals in Laguna and Batangas. We have heard many stories of people dying while waiting for hospital admissions,” Robredo added.

The vice president shared the two possible explanations to this given to her by a group of doctors who she had a briefing with on Monday morning.

First, they said that “the DOH data do not reflect available ER (emergency room) beds,” and second, “their data in hospital bed capacity might not be updated anymore.”

“They said most hospitals decreased their bed capacities because of physical distancing requirements,” Robredo added.

On Monday, the country logged its highest COVID-19 positive cases at 10,016 with a positivity rate of 18 percent despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standard to keep this under 5 percent.

Robredo also noted that the government only conducted 28,492 tests.

“Highest number of new cases and very high positivity rate and yet we only tested 28,492!!,” she said.

Since last year, the vice president has been pushing the government to do mass testing to detect COVID-19 patients and isolate them as soon as possible.

Over the weekend, Robredo said in an interview with Radyo Katipunan that hospital staff has started intubating their patients in the parking lot because of a lack of available hospital beds.

This echoed reports on social media that people with COVID and non-COVID symptoms can no longer find hospitals that can accommodate them because the ICU unit and isolation beds are at full capacity.