Metro Manila at 65% ICU bed capacity, DOH says

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
Metro Manila at 65% ICU bed capacity, DOH says
A sign is placed at the emergency entrance of the Makati Medical Center in Makati City as the private hospital reaches full capacity for the COVID-19 cases on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Bed capacity of Intensive Care Units in Metro Manila has reached "moderate risk," the health department said Monday as it sought to remind the public to be on guard amid a surge in cases already ongoing in the country.

Dr. Beverly Ho who led the DOH briefing this morning said 65% of ICU beds in the capital region are already occupied, with the Health Care Utilization Rate (HCUR) at 49% and 38% of mechanical ventilators in use.

Figures from the agency's COVID-19 tracker showed that 7,779 beds are allocated for COVID-19 patients across hospitals in Metro Manila. 

Some 679 of this are for the ICU section. If computed, that would mean that at least 441 beds are already taken.

The numbers in other areas

Ho said the HCUR in Central Visayas is at 47%, with the ICU bed capacity at 49%.

This region had seen a surge in COVID-19 infections after the holidays, particularly in Cebu City. It's also where officials detected the COVID-19 variant first detected in the Philippines or the P.3, which remains not a "variant of concern" according to the DOH.

Davao Region's HCUR, meanwhile, is at 33% and 52% of allocated ICU beds in its hospitals are already occupied.

In the Cordilleras, Ho said the HCUR is at 56%, with bed capacity in its ICU already at 71%. Despite this, she said the health care utilization rate in the country is at 35%, meaning still at "low risk."

Taking caution

The developments, however, should remind the public to ensure that they are following preventive measures so as not to add to the cases.

"We cannot just be complacent about the numbers now because the ICU beds are slowly being filled up," Ho, director of the DOH's health promotion bureau, said.

But as the country enters a year since quarantine, lawmakers are seeking a better response from government to curb the rising infections, and do away with the "militaristic" approach that they said officials have carried out since the pandemic began.

Over the weekend, Professor Guido David of OCTa Reasearch warned that government should move quick to combat the surge in cases, as it may soon overwhelm hospitals.

David said daily cases, projected to reach 8,000 by end of March, could push the ICU occupancy in Metro Manila to 70%, or the critical level.

Earlier Monday, the Philippines tallied 5,404 new COVID-19 infections, its highest in the last seven months, bringing its overall to 626,893.







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