144 doctors, nurses at The Medical City under quarantine

Aika Rey
144 doctors, nurses at The Medical City under quarantine
Saturday's figure is down from the 150-worker tally on Friday, March 20

MANILA, Philippines – At least 144 doctors and nurses at The Medical City (TMC) in Pasig City are under self-quarantine due to exposure to the coronavirus, based on the hospital’s daily update.

In a Facebook post, TMC said that 144 workers were under quarantine as of Saturday, March 21, down from the 150-worker tally on Friday, March 20.

As of Saturday, there are 20 coronavirus patients and 62 persons under investigation (PUI) admitted at the Ortigas hospital. Two have died, while 4 have recovered under the hospital’s care.

In an interview with DZMM on Friday, president and CEO Doctor Eugenio Ramos said, “Nakakatakot na rin.” (It’s getting scary.)

Ramos told DZMM that they had converted some of the rooms into wards to accommodate more people. (READ: Left in the dark: Little protection for government’s coronavirus frontliners)

“Alam mo ‘yung challenge is not like ‘yung number lang, [pero] ang exposure ng mga doctor at ang bilis ng kalat [ng virus]. And then, nauubos na ‘yung mga PPEs (personal protective equipment) namin. ‘Yung kuwarto nako-convert na para sa mga wards para lang sa mga COVID-19 [patients],” Ramos said.

(The challenge here is not just the number of cases, but the exposure of the doctors and the quick spread of the virus. And then, our PPE supply is already getting low. We’re already converting the rooms into wards for the COVID-19 patients.)

Ramos said that it’s better if the government designates hospitals focused on treating COVID-19.

“We are running out all of these PPEs at saka itong mga exposure, na it’s best and it’s more efficient and it’s more effective to control the containment kung mayroon talagang ospital na dedicated,” Ramos said.

(We are running out of all these PPEs and risking this exposure. It’s best and it’s more efficient, and it’s more effective, to control the containment if there are hospitals dedicated for the virus.)

On Friday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III designated Dr Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center and a building at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) for the exclusive use of coronavirus patients.

The Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City is also being eyed to solely treat COVID-19 patients, but this might expose non-coronavirus patients, including cancer patients, who regularly go to the hospital.

Major hospitals have appealed to the government to designate hospitals that will cater exclusively to coronavirus patients as PPEs run low.

The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines spiked at 307, of whom 19 have died. So far, 13 people have recovered from the virus. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.