COVID-19 Pushes Healthcare to the Edge as Metro Manila Hospitals Reach Full Capacity
Four Metro Manila hospitals, some of the best in the country, have reached full capacity due to the influx of confirmed COVID-19 cases and patients under investigation (PUIs). These hospitals, which will no longer be accepting COVID-19 PUIs and patients, include: Makati Medical Center (MMC), The Medical City (TMC), and both St. Luke’s Medical Center Quezon City and Global City.
In a public statement, TMC in Pasig City announced that the hospital has already exceeded its capacity while also overstretching its healthcare workforce after 137 workers were placed in quarantine. TMC is currently caring for 64 PUIs and 18 COVID-19 positive cases, 11 of which are in the ER waiting for rooms, six are hooked to mechanical ventilators, and five are in critical condition.
“Unless we are able to move the new patients to other hospitals, our healthcare delivery system is going to breakdown,” said TMC president and CEO Dr. Eugenio Jose F. Ramos.
Meanwhile, MMC announced that it was also at full capacity after it attended to more than 700 patients suspected to have COVID-19. To cope with the influx of patients, MMC shut down certain areas in the hospital and hired more recruits to maximize the force fighting COVID-19. The hospital is currently caring for 70 positive cases and PUIs—15 percent of which are in the intensive care unit.
“These patients include some of our frontline physicians, nurses, technicians, nursing aides, among others,” said Dr. Saturnino P. Javier, medical director and interim co-CEO of MMC.
St. Luke’s Medical Centers in both Quezon City and Global City are both at full capacity and will no long accept COVID-19 patients for confinement. St Luke’s is caring for 48 confirmed positive cases, as well as 139 PUIs, while 592 St. Luke’s frontliners are in quarantine due to exposure to positive cases and PUIs.
“We are also treating non-COVID patients on other floors in which their health conditions cannot be compromised,” noted St. Luke’s.
Due to the lack of hospital beds and overworked frontliners, these hospitals can no longer guarantee new patients rooms for admission, but they will still work to find patients another healthcare facility and treat symptoms to the best of their ability.
This news comes just days after hospitals in Metro Manila released a joint statement urging the government to assign specific hospitals to exclusively care for COVID-19 hospitals. The reasons cited for this call were: an alarming number of frontliners under quarantine or in critical condition and shortage of respirators, supplies, ICUs, and PPEs. Of the 13 hospitals that signed the statement, MMC, St. Luke's, and TMC were among the endorsers.
The Department of Health has now designated the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City and Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Caloocan City as the two hospitals to exclusively handle COVID-19 cases.