DPWH eyes converting 4 convention, sports centers into health facilities

Aika Rey
DPWH eyes converting 4 convention, sports centers into health facilities
The 4 public buildings being eyed as temporary health facilities could take on 2,905 patients, says Public Works Secretary Mark Villar

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) recommended 4 public buildings to be used as temporary health facilities to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement on Monday, March 30, the DPWH said it is eyeing the following buildings:

  • Philippine International Convention Center
  • World Trade Center
  • Rizal Memorial Coliseum
  • Philippine Institute of Sports Multi-purpose Arena (Philsports)

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said the 4 buildings can accommodate a total of 2,905 possible patients.

Villar’s proposal came as major hospitals have exceeded their capacity, due to the spike in coronavirus cases in the country. (READ: IN NUMBERS: What hospitals need to treat COVID-19 patients)

Villar said the conversion of the 4 buildings would have to follow principles and protocols related to infection prevention and control set by the Department of Health (DOH).

The buildings would be divided into 3 zones: contaminated, buffer, and sterile zones. The contaminated zone would be where patients will be admitted.

The buffer zone would serve as an area for the doffing or removal of personal protective equipment (PPEs), decontamination, and hand hygiene; while the sterile zone would be the holding area for health care workers and for donning of PPEs.

“As per guidelines provided by DOH, confirmed COVID-19 patients may be placed in shared space or rooms. PUIs (patients under investigation) shall be separated in a different space or tent or room provided with individual enclosed spaces and separate entrance,” Villar said.

“Identified spaces must be accessible to a Level 2 or 3 hospital accepting PUI or confirmed COVID-19 patients. Distance between patient beds should be maintained at least 3 feet apart on all sides,” he added.

So far, the agency has converted 125 DPWH-built evacuation centers across the country into health facilities, while 10 others are being used as emergency operations centers.

The DPWH has also provided disinfection services nationwide. Some 318 sanitation tents and 43 gantries or cranes have been established, while 207 convergence areas have been disinfected by their personnel.

As of Monday afternoon, the Philippines has 1,546 coronavirus cases, with 78 deaths. – 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.