Week-long ECQ may not be enough to 'decongest' hospitals â PHAPi
The lobby of Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center in Marikina City is jam-packed with people as patients seek medical checkup on March 19, 2021.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

Week-long ECQ may not be enough to 'decongest' hospitals — PHAPi

(Philstar.com) - March 27, 2021 - 8:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — The head of a private hospitals' group on Saturday said a week-long enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and other areas may not be enough to free up COVID-19 beds in hospitals whose capacities have been overwhelmed by the unprecedented spike in infections.

While ECQ might lower the number of active cases, Dr. Jose de Grano, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, told Philstar.com, that seven days is not long enough for admitted patients to be discharged from hospitals.

"[Y]ou cannot discount the fact that patients are already admitted, and patients, when admitted, will have to stay 10-14 days because of COVID," he said partially in Filipino.

However, De Grano also acknowledged that it would be difficult to extend ECQ.

"Other experts are [asking for] ECQ for the next two weeks but then again what effect will that have on our economy and our people?" he said in Filipino.

'Move mild, asymptomatic cases to quarantine facilities to free up COVID-19 wards'

What would help "decongest" COVID beds in hospitals, De Grano said, would be moving mild and asymptomatic cases to quarantine facilities.

"We will only be catering to patients with moderate or high symptoms. Yun ang dapat (That's how it should be)," he said.

Malacañang on Saturday evening abruptly announced that Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal would be placed under ECQ from March 29 to April 4.

The week-long shift to a more stringent lockdown marks an abrupt change on the part of the Duterte administration which has insisted on keeping the economy open despite the urging of experts who warned that the healthcare system was being overwhelmed.

— Bella Perez-Rubio with a report from Prinz Magtulis 

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