Gov’t hospitals stepping in as private hospitals declare full capacity – Sec. Duque

Marje Pelayo   •   March 25, 2020   •   443

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

MANILA, Philippines – All four major private hospitals in Metro Manila have exceeded their capacity with the recent surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.

These hospitals – The Medical City in Pasig City; the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City and Taguig City; and the Makati Medical Center – have issued their respective advisories saying their workforce have also been overstretched.

Unless they move some of their patients to other hospitals, their healthcare system would break down as some of their health workers are under self-quarantine.

In an interview with Daniel Razon on Wednesday (March 14), Health Secretary Francisco Duque III assured that they have designated a number of public hospitals as augmentation facilities to accommodate more patients.

Meanwhile, three referral facilities for COVID-19 patients are set to open this week.

These include the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City; the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium (DJNRMH) in Caloocan City; and the University of the Philippines (UP) Philippine General Hospital in Manila.

Duque said there are still 62 rooms available at DJNRMH; 130 hospital beds at the UP-PGH; and about 40 rooms in the Lung Center though rooms in the hospital are easily occupied.

Iyong ating mga public hospitals marami pa tayo, (There are a number of rooms still available in public hospitals),” he assured.

Pero siyempre minsan napupuno din itong Lung Center kaya pinalalawig pa rin natin ang mga ibang hospital. In fact, dagdagan ang mga kuwarto at kama para sa mga COVID patients,” he added.

(But of course, Lung Center also gets full so we are still asking augmentation from other hospitals. In fact, we will add rooms and beds for COVID patients.)

Meanwhile, despite the arrivals of donated COVID-19 test kits in the country, the DOH said the number is still not enough to launch a mass testing in the Philippines.

Hindi pa rin po natin kakayanin iyan dahil nga mayroon tayong tinatawag na global shortage ng mga testing kits. Buti na lang nabibigyan tayo ng donation ng goberyno ng China, ng Singapore at South Korea,” the Health Chief said.

(We are still incapable of conducting [mass testing] because there is a global shortage of testing kits. Good thing we received donations from China, Singapore and South Korea.)

Secretary Duque noted, however, that they are considering the procurement of new test kits duly approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the government’s economic cluster’s approval of the P240M budget for that matter. – MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Metro Manila to likely transition to GCQ after May 31 —Palace

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

Metro Manila has a possibility to transition to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) after May 31, according to the Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is a chance that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions might ease in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) held a meeting on Wednesday (May 27) to determine if the MECQ should continue after May 31.

“Chances are we will, in fact, be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila, according to the chief implementer and the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] Secretary,” Roque said in a statement.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) is also recommending to the IATF to put the National Capital Region under GCQ.

Once Metro Manila transitioned to GCQ, Roque said public transportation will resume operations but will have limited capacity.

He also appealed to the private and public sectors to finalize their work scheme where 50% will resume in worksites and 50% will work from home.

“We are appealing to both private and public sectors to ensure at least 50-50 workforce,” he said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Mandaluyong City beefs up rapid testing after COVID-19 infects 277 tricycle drivers

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Mandaluyong City government cannot decide yet on whether or not to allow tricycle drivers to operate come June 1.

This, after 277 of the 3,115 tricycle drivers who underwent rapid testing were confirmed positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Mandaluyong City Health Office is continuously conducting rapid tests among 7,000 tricycle drivers in the city to ensure their safety and the safety of their passengers.

Those who were infected are now under isolation in the city’s quarantine facility while waiting for the confirmatory tests using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“Nagko contact tracing pa ho kami kasi scattered po ito eh. Hindi po ito kasi by area. So mina-map out pa po namin kung saan sila marami (We are doing contact tracing because these are scattered. It is not just in one area. So we are mapping out where the most number of cases are),” said Dr. Alexander Sta, Maria of the city health office.

The LGU, meanwhile, clarified that the increase in the number of confirmed cases in the city is a result of the mass testing which allowed for the immediate tracking of COVID-19 probable patients and their prompt isolation to curb further spread.

“This is coordinated kasi meron po tayong in-charge sa buong TODA. Then before po ito ni-launch, na-meeting po ang lahat ng presidente ng kanilang mga TODA so binigyan po sila ng schedule (This is a coordinated effort. There is someone in charge of the whole TODA. Before this was launched, we held a meeting with their respective presidents and all of them were given a schedule),” Sta. Maria added.

The city government will test jeepney drivers next once the tests among tricycle drivers is completed. MNP (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

House panel approves P1.5-T fund to create jobs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

The House Defeat COVID-19 Committee has approved a bill seeking to provide a P1.5-trillion fund to create sustainable jobs amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

House Bill 6709 or the proposed “COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act of 2020″ is set to fund infrastructure projects in rural areas to help curb unemployment amid the pandemic.

The CURES Act of 2020 shall also be undertaken with the “Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program” and the immediate funding of CURES projects shall target the construction of health centers, school buildings, vocational learning centers, as well as improving fish ports and trading centers at barangay levels.

The House Bill is expected to be sponsored on Thursday (May 28) for its 2nd reading approval in the plenary on Thursday afternoon. It will have to go through a 3rd and final reading before it can hurdle the House.

Meanwhile, representatives of other government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also endorsed the approval of the proposed CURES Act of 2020. –AAC


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