Following an increase in the number of coronavirus cases seen over the past few weeks, the Department of Health (DOH) announced on Monday, July 6, that 11 hospitals in Metro Manila reported full beds dedicated to coronavirus patients in intensive care units (ICU).
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire identified the 11 hospitals as the following:
Other hospitals reporting high utilization rates among their ICU beds were the following:
The DOH keeps track of 3 kinds of coronavirus-dedicated beds when monitoring the critical care capacity of the country. Aside from ICU beds, these are ward beds and isolation beds.
The DOH also monitors how many patients are using mechanical ventilators. (IN NUMBERS: What hospitals need to treat COVID-19 patients)
The critical care capacity and its current levels of occupancy is one way to gauge the current status of the outbreak.
Vergeire clarified that the number of coronavirus beds does not account for the full capacity of hospitals as only a certain number of facilities are allocated for coronavirus patients.
Data from the DOH showed there are about 150 hospitals in Metro Manila as of July 3.
What the DOH is doing about it: Vergeire said the DOH has ordered other hospitals in the capital region to expand their capacity to treat patients if needed.
The critical care utilization rate in Metro Manila is currently at 63.41%, a level characterized as “moderate risk,” Vergeire said.
While this was the case, Vergeire said there was no shortage for now, as not all hospitals in the capital region have expanded their allocation of beds and facilities for COVID-19 patients to the mandated 30%.
“Reported utilization rates do not reflect the entire capacity of hospitals, hence from the general wards we can still expand through human resources for health and other requirements,” she said.
“We are ramping up our health system capacities, in particular, the equipping of in-patient beds to be ready to receive critical and severe patients,” she added.
Hospitals were instructed to comply with the standard order that 30% of their beds should be dedicated for COVID-19 patients and be prepared to implement an additional 20% of their facilities as “surge capacity” if needed.
“We are continuously ramping up our capacities to match the changing needs,” Vergeire said.