Private Hospitals in the Philippines Manageable Amid Increase in Covid Cases

People shop in Divisoria in Manila on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. FILE PHOTO BY MIKE ALQUINTO
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Despite the reported increase in Covid-19 cases and influenza-like illnesses, the utilization rate of private hospitals in the Philippines remains manageable, according to Private Hospital Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPi) President Rene de Grano.

Dr. de Grano stated, “So far right now, it’s manageable. Although we have seen an increase in the number of cases, most of these are not identified and are not required to undergo Covid testing.”

He further explained that the symptoms experienced by patients currently were not as severe as those during the height of the pandemic. As a result, hospital admission was not mandatory, and most patients could isolate at home.

Dr. de Grano also mentioned that the majority of patients currently admitted to private hospitals were at low risk from Covid-19, and some were incidental cases.

According to the recent monitoring report of the Department of Health (DoH), only 176 out of the total 1,298 Covid beds were currently occupied, while 1,833 out of the 11,111 non-ICU (intensive care unit) Covid beds were in use.

Health Undersecretary Enrique Tayag mentioned in a television interview that three hospitals, namely the Philippine Children’s Hospital, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and the Medical City, had reached their maximum bed capacity. However, Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa clarified that these hospitals were reaching their maximum bed capacity because the allocated number of bed units for Covid had decreased since the lifting of the Covid-19 public health emergency.

Recently, the DoH reported a 36-percent increase in the average number of new Covid cases recorded daily in Metro Manila and nearby areas. As of the latest count, there were 1,821 new cases recorded nationwide, with 13 of them being severe and critical.

In addition to the increase in Covid cases, the Health department also reported a 33-percent increase in recorded respiratory illnesses, with a total of 193,148 cases from January to December this year.

Considering the possible uptick in the number of Covid cases due to large gatherings and crowded places during the holiday season, Dr. de Grano assured that private hospitals were ready to accommodate patients. He stated, “Our hospitals have not closed their isolation areas yet. We have shifted the former Covid areas to infectious disease areas so that all contagious diseases, infectious diseases, and Covid cases will be placed there. So we can say that our private hospitals are ready.”

Dr. de Grano also noted an increase in the admissions of flu-like illnesses in private hospitals, which he attributed to the season. He mentioned that only those who really need intensive care, such as children, those belonging to highly vulnerable groups, and those with existing comorbidities, are admitted.

While PHAPi is hopeful that the utilization rate of hospitals will remain manageable, Dr. de Grano warned that diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia might increase, especially after the holiday season.

Overall, despite the increase in Covid-19 cases and influenza-like illnesses, private hospitals in the Philippines are currently managing the situation well. With low-risk patients and a manageable utilization rate, these hospitals are prepared to accommodate potential surges in cases during the holiday season and beyond.

Source: The Manila Times

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