PH’s ICU occupancy at ‘high risk’ as number of COVID-19 cases rise

Published August 30, 2021, 9:54 AM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

Amid the rising number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, the country’s intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rate is currently at a “high risk” level, a health official said Monday, Aug. 30.

The Chinese General Hospital in Manila has declared full capacity as COVID-19 cases continue to rise this week. (Ali Vicoy)

“The hospital utilization rate across the country is roughly about at moderate risk, that’s about 67 percent,” Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

“We have a high risk position for the intensive care unit at 72 percent,” he added.

Among the regions at high risk levels with regards their healthcare utilization rates (HCURs) are Regions 2, 3, 10, and Calabarzon, he said. Other regions are at moderate risk including the National Capital Region (NCR) at 67 percent.

“One of the things that we should be doing right now is ramping up isolation facilities and even step down care for the hospitals so that they could easily decongest the hospital beds needed for COVID patients,” Vega said.

The Philippines recorded an additional 18,528 new infections on Sunday, Aug. 29 — the new record for the second highest single-day case tally.

This brought the number of active cases to 143,221 or 7.3 percent of the total case count of 1,954,023.

“What is very noticeable in this number of cases that we have is the high percentage of asymptomatic, mild and moderate cases comprising of about 98 percent, and about 1.71 percent only for severe and critical,” Vega noted.

“This is totally different from what we saw in last April wherein we had a higher severe and critical cases at 3 to 4 percent,” he added.

The health official pointed out that the COVID-19 Delta variant has been detected in the majority of regions in the country.

“The Delta variant is very highly contagious and becoming the dominant kind of variant that we see around, and that’s why we see a number of infections really shooting up,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vega underscored the need to boost the testing, tracing, and isolation efforts to prevent the further spread of the virus and control the increasing number of infections.

“We have tested about 60,000 in average per day,” he said, “but we have a very high positivity rate at almost 27 percent which means that we need more testing to make sure that the positivity rate goes down.”