The surge in COVID-19 cases that plunged millions into a new lockdown has "overwhelmed and overran" the country's hospitals, a healthworkers group said Wednesday, as it appealed to the government to provide nurses and doctors as reinforcements.
What was long feared had happened, PHA president Dr. Jaime Almora told GMA News' "Unang Balita" newscast. "Hindi tayo natatalo, natalo na," he said.
The Philippines recorded 10,016 daily cases on the first day of ECQ, a new all-time high and has hovered at the 9,000 level until Wednesday's tally.
COVID SURGE EXPLAINED:
Hospitals have resorted to turning away COVID-positive patients due to a lack of resources. The problem lies in the lack of manpower, as many hospitals have the bed capacity but are short on hands.
"Ibig sabihin kung wala silang capability, not necessarily wala silang capacity. Kung beds ang pag-uusapan, merong beds. Ang wala ay ang mag-aasikaso sa pasyente," he said.
Apart from the lack of manpower, he added that those on duty are overworking with 16-hour shifts.
A confluence of events led to the diminishing number of nurses—Almora cited the phase-out of non-performing nursing schools, no nursing graduates for a year due to K-12, and nurses transferring from private hospitals to government institutions offering double the pay.
Almora called on the government to provide reinforcement to private hospitals with nurses.
"Kumbaga sa giyera, nasa firing line sila at wala nang reinforcement. Nanawagan kami sa ahensiya ng gobyerno na nag-employ ng maraming nurse to provide reinforcement," he said.
Mild cases of COVID-19 were encouraged to self-isolate at home and seek the help of medical professionals through teleconsults.
"Tumawag na lang sa mga doktor, huwag nang pumunta sa ospital," he said.
On the second day of ECQ, the Department of Health said an extension of the strictest form of quarantine to reap the full benefits of tighter restrictions in the Greater Manila Area which covers Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
Almora said they back the extension of ECQ.