Philippine Orthopedic Center halts some services as 117 staff contract COVID-19

Philippine Orthopedic Center halts some services as 117 staff contract COVID-19
File photo shows a hospital treating COVID-19 patients.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — After more than 100 of its employees contracted COVID-19, the Philippine Orthopedic Center on Saturday announced that it would be halting some of its services. 

Dr. John Bengzon, POC officer-in-charge, in a statement on Facebook, said 117 of 180 of the hospital's staff members tested positive for coronavirus.

Bengzon said this was due to the presence of some 350 to 450 outpatients in the hospital per day and the increasing positivity rate of COVID-19 patients. 

Due to this, he said the hospital has taken take the following steps:  

  • The outpatient department is temporarily closed. The hospital will be offering online consultations through its POC Orthopedic Surgery OPD FB page 
  • Elective surgeries are on hold 
  • Facilitation of quarantine for staff who need help through the One Hospital Comand Center (OHCC) of the Department of Health 
  • Disinfection of all service areas and offices 
  • Adjustment of working hours for remaining staff
  • Second doses of Sinovac will be rolled out from April 5 to 12 
  • Continuous mandatory swabbing for other staff on April 7  

He added that POC's emergency room will remain open 24/7 and that its 216 patients and 12 COVID-19 patients will continue to receive care. 

Posted by POC Orthopedic Surgery OPD on Friday, April 2, 2021

Appeals to the public 

Given the higher rate of virus transmission, Bengzon said there was a need for POC staff to double mask and urged the public to give aid for face masks and other personal protective equipment. 

"POC would like to appeal to the public to continue to self quarantine as the pandemic has affected so many." 

The announcement comes a day after the Philippines recorded another all-time high in daily COVID-19 infections with 15,310 new entries. 

Health authorities said 3,709 of these cases were backlogs from March 31 due to issues with uploading. The remaining 11,601 cases, however, still mark the highest ever daily jump.

Active cases also broke records for the fourth day in a row on Friday with 153,809 patients — almost enough to fill up the Philippine Arena — the largest indoor arena in the world—thrice over. 

— Bella Perez-Rubio 

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