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COVID-19 Surge Could 'Overwhelm' Health System, So Stay at Home, DOH Says

Isolation, ICU beds are filling up
by Joel Guinto
Jul 29, 2020
Photo/s: Agence France-Presse

Coronavirus infections are rising to the point that health systems could be overwhelmed soon, the Department of Health said, as it reiterated its appeal to the public: stay at home. The warning came just days before President Rodrigo Duterte decides on new quarantine classifications.

As of late Tuesday, the Philippines tallied 83,673 cases with 1,947 deaths and 26,617 recoveries. Nationwide, 53 percent of intensive care unit beds and 51 percent of isolation beds are being used, DOH data showed. In Metro Manila ICU bed utilization is at 73 percent and at 82 percent for isolation beds.

"Nationally, malapit na po ma-overwhelm ang health system natin. Mapapagod ang ating mga doktor, nurses at mga nagaalaga sa atin sa ospital kaya nakikusap kami sa inyo na susmunod tayo sa minimum health standard at kung hindi naman importante, manatili po muna tayo sa kani-kanilang tahanan," Health Usec. Rosario Vergeire said.

(Nationally, our health system is close to being overwhelmed. Our doctors, nurses and hospital staff will get tired that's why we are appealing to you, please follow minimum health standards and if it's not important, stay at home.)

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On Tuesday, the Senate passed its version of Bayanihan to Heal as One, the country's second pandemic response law that seeks a P140-billion stimulus for the economy. The Senate and the House need to reconcile their versions of the measure before Duterte can sign it into law.

Duterte pushed for Bayanihan 2 in his State of the Nation Address last Monday. The President also said he asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for access to a China-made vaccine for COVID-19 once it is available.

At an online forum hosted by the Philippine College of Physicians, a doctor at the Philippine General Hospital, John Besa said data showed on the news don't fully capture the situation on the ground.

“I am telling everyone na in the front lines, hindi talaga okay. Sobrang mas malala tayo kumpara noong una (We are worse off now that when we started),” Besa said in a portion of the video aired on GMA Network's 24 Oras.

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“We are seeing more severe cases. The reality is lahat ng tao sa frontlines pagod na (The reality is that everyone on the frontlines are tired)," said infectious disease specialist Monica Reyes-Montecillo in the same forum.

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