Gov’t continues to ramp up PH healthcare system as Delta variant threat looms

Published July 22, 2021, 12:53 PM

by Analou de Vera

In this file photo taken on April 21, 2020, a member of the Philippine National Police Special Action Forces uses a megaphone to remind shoppers to practice social distancing during a government imposed enhanced quarantine as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Manila. (Photo by Maria TAN / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Department of Health (DOH) assured the public that the government is doing “it’s best” to increase the capacity of the country’s healthcare system amid the detection of the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.

In a statement issued Thursday, July 22, the DOH said it understands the “fear and anxiety” of the public brought about by the Delta variant.

“Rest assured that the government is doing its best to prepare our healthcare system for a possible surge, regardless of community quarantine classification,” the DOH said.

The DOH said that both the national and local governments must “work hand in hand to increase our health system capacity” to be able to manage the country’s new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

“We can do this by ensuring there is enough ICU (intensive care unit) and TTMF (temporary treatment and monitoring facilities) bed capacity in areas experiencing a surge, there are enough supplies of COVID-19 medicines and oxygen tanks, and human resources for health augmentation, and continuous implementation of work arrangements for healthcare workers,” it said.

“We are also working double time to ramp up our national vaccination program to vaccinate more people to reduce hospitalization and deaths that will help decongest our hospitals,” the DOH added.

Uptick in cases

The Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) said that hospitals in the country are ready to respond to the possible surge of COVD-19 cases again, adding that some hospitals are already seeing an uptick in cases.

“Katulad ng dati, lagi naman kaming handa. In fact medyo nararamdaman na talaga namin yung pagtaas ng kaso. Starting mga latter part of last week, nag umpisa na medyo napansin na namin na dumadami (We are always ready. In fact, we observed that the cases are already increasing. Starting the latter part of last week, we started to notice that the cases are on the rise),” said PCP President Dr. Maricar Limpin in an interview over DZBB radio on July 22.

Limpin called on the government to ensure that the supply of medical equipment, needed for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, are enough.

She said that the mobility of people, forgetting to follow health protocols, and the Delta variant are among the factors why COVID-19 cases are increasing.

“Alam naman natin na ang Delta variant, mas mabilis ang pagkalat ng sakit tapos ang medyo mahirap pa, ay doon sa ibang bansa na nakita natin, medyo talagang this lead doon sa hospitalization ng mga tao at marami din ang namamatay (We know that the Delta variant causes faster spread of the disease. In other countries, this variant leads to hospitalization of people and many also died),” she said,

The DOH urged the public to get vaccinated and strictly follow the minimum public health standards.

“We remind everyone that while the government is augmenting our healthcare system, we should continue practicing the minimum public health standards and get vaccinated when it is our turn. These two are our best defense against ant variant,” it said.