FOLLOWING the reported increased occupancy rates in National Capital Region (NCR) hospitals, the Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday said it was fast-tracking the delivery and set up of modular tents in hospitals across Metro Manila.
This effort, the DOH said, is being done together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also said the Rizal Memorial Coliseum and the Ninoy Aquino Stadium have already reopened to accept mild and moderate patients while the Quezon Institute (QI) will be opened today (April 5).
These three facilities had been closed after cases started to decrease.
The Rizal Coliseum can accommodate 97 patients, the Ninoy Aquino Stadium 127 beds, and QI 112 beds.
According to DOH, eight NCR hospitals have requested the setting up of modular tents: Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRRMMC) at the Quezon Institute (QI), Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium (Tala), Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, Tondo Medical Center, National Center for Mental Health, Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and San Lazaro Hospital.
Additionally, the WHO has committed to provide four tents to be used as LGU-based triage areas. The MMDA has coordinated with LGUs for the allocation and setup of the said tents.
The DOH, with help from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), also facilitated the creation of extensions for Level 3 hospitals which include the 44-bed modular hospital at Tala which began its operations last week, 44-bed modular hospital at LCP which started operating last January, and the 110-bed capacity off-site modular extension of JRRMMC at QI expected to open on April 8, among others.
“Despite the government’s efforts to expand hospital capacities, the public is called on to first coordinate with their Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) before going to hospitals upon symptom presentation so they may be assessed and referred to the appropriate facility for the appropriate level of care. The public is also called on to utilize the teleconsultation services of their respective LGUs or use the free teleconsultation services of DOH through its partners for non-urgent medical needs to avoid overcrowding in hospitals and ensure that all critical patient needs are attended to,” the DOH said.
Meanwhile, the DOH, through treatment czar Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, is also intensifying its efforts to augment health-care workers (HCWs) in NCR.
An initial 42 volunteer HCWs from other regions with low Covid-19 cases are scheduled to be deployed in select NCR DOH hospitals within the week, while more volunteers from Visayas and Mindanao are expected to be deployed over the next weeks.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police Medical Reserve Forces have been tapped to man reactivated Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities where mild and asymptomatic Covid-19 cases are transferred.
The DOH, together with DPWH Secretary Mark Villar are finalizing negotiations with hotels to cater to HCWs and hospital employees in need of quarantine and isolation facilities, with three hotels expected to be utilized within the week.