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NCR critical cases rising, ICU beds occupied â doctors
In an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News/TV5 on Monday night, Philippine College of Physicians vice president Maricar Limpin said intensive care unit (ICU) beds in NCR are full, contrary to the pronouncement of the Department of Health.
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NCR critical cases rising, ICU beds occupied – doctors

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - June 16, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — While the number of COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) is on a downward trend, a group of doctors observed an increase in severe and critical patients, overwhelming the capacity of hospitals in the NCR.

In an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News/TV5 on Monday night, Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) vice president Maricar Limpin said intensive care unit (ICU) beds in NCR are full, contrary to the pronouncement of the Department of Health (DOH).

“The DOH is saying there are still available beds. But we are the ones who know that there are many severe and critical COVID patients now,” Limpin said. “It’s a cause for alarm that COVID patients are increasing.”

She said COVID-19 patients in ICU wards need to stay for a longer period of time to recover.

“Usually for more than three weeks so the turn around of patients is slow,” Limpin said.

She said most of the patients have developed pneumonia while the critical ones were intubated or placed on oxygen support.

Limpin said the utilization rate for ICU beds in Metro Manila was 50 percent but it went up to 70 percent two weeks ago.

“A week ago or at least last week, it was 80 percent. Now we are 100 percent full,” she said.

Limpin said she believes the rise in severe and critical COVID cases could be attributed to the presence of COVID-19 variants, particularly the United Kingdom and South African variants.

“These variants increased transmissibility and they are known to cause more severe cases,” she said.

In the Visayas and Mindanao where COVID-19 cases are increasing, Limpin said doctors are asking for help because the ICU beds in hospitals are fully occupied.

COVID cases up

The number of COVID-19 cases nationwide increased by 15 percent in the past two weeks, the DOH reported yesterday.

According to DOH chief epidemiologist Alethea de Guzman, the overall growth rate of COVID-19 cases was at 15 percent from May 30 to June 12. The figure was slightly higher from May 16 to May 19 at 13 percent.

Despite of this, De Guzman said the entire country is considered “moderate risk” for COVID-19.

De Guzman reported that between June 7 and 13, the average daily COVID-19 cases increased to 6,609 from 6,558 from May 31 to June 6 and 6,278 cases from May 24 to 30. The DOH recorded 5,343 cases from May 17 to 23.

The figures are below the April 9 to 15 tally when the average daily cases reached 10,845.

In the NCR, De Guzman said there is a slow decline in COVID cases and the region had improved from being a high risk to moderate risk.

Metro Manila registered a 16-percent drop in COVID cases in the past two weeks.

De Guzman noted that the pattern of COVID cases in the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal is “inconsistent.”

“There are times it’s going up and then it will go down. So it is not steady as we are seeing in the NCR,” she said.

The DOH is also monitoring three regions for being “high risk.” These are Region 2, Caraga and Region 6.

Data showed that these regions are in the “red” for having an average daily attack rate of 8.11 to 10.36.

De Guzman said there are 36 priority areas based on health care utilization (HCU) rate and usage of ICU beds. The provinces of La Union, Tarlac, Rizal, Cavite, Benguet and Agusan del Sur have been “flagged” for having “high to critical HCU or ICU utilization.”

Palace defends Galvez

Meanwhile, Malacañang defended the National Task Force against COVID-19 after lawmakers accused NTF chairman Carlito Galvez Jr. of neglecting Mindanao in the vaccine distribution program.

“That’s not true,” said presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr.

Roque dismissed the statement of House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez that many people died of COVID-19 in Mindanao due to Galvez’s inaction.

Roque said the surge of new infections in Mindanao could be attributed to the failure of local governments to strictly enforce the minimum health standards.

“They did not impose ECQ and MECQ,” he said, referring to enhanced community quarantine and modified ECQ.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government would prioritized areas under MECQ in the COVID-19 vaccination drive.

According to Nograles, President Duterte authorized the deployment of more vaccines to areas with high COVID cases. – Christina Mendez

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