More asymptomatic patients in hospitals prompt DOH-7’s call for more ‘hotel-isolation’ rooms
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) is pushing for more hotels here to house asymptomatic patients if it means preventing the hospitals from being overwhelmed by patients.
DOH-7 on Monday, February 22, announced they registered a slight increase in the critical care utilization rate of public and private hospitals in the region.
Citing data from health authorities, Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of DOH-7, said that as of February 21, critical care utilization rates of private hospitals have reached 47.6 percent while 58.7 percent for public hospitals.
Existing reports and data showed that utilization rates of private hospitals were still at 40.6 percent last February 10.
However, Loreche said they observed that most of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients currently admitted in hospitals happened to be asymptomatics or those who do not manifest symptoms of the infection.
“We’re seeing a lot of asymptomatics in hospitals. We understand the need for feeling of security for those diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 but we want to (transfer) them from the hospitals and allocate these beds (for patients with mild and moderate symptoms),” Loreche told reporters in a press conference on Monday.
As a result, the DOH-7 official said their agency is tapping the help of hoteliers to provide alternative isolation rooms for asymptomatic patients.
DOH-7 said there are currently eight isolation hotels, and 18 quarantine hotels accredited to house confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients respectively in Central Visayas. They added that concerned government agencies are now processing the accreditation of two more hotels in the region.
“We are working with other partner agencies like the DOT (Department of Tourism), HRRAC (Hotel Resort and Restaurant Association in Cebu), and BOQ (Bureau of Quarantine) to accredit and identify hotels that can be step down facilities for these admitted patients,” said Loreche.
Based on DOH’s Memorandum No. 2020 – 0186 issued last April 2020, COVID-19 patients with worsening symptoms should be the ones prioritized in hospitals for treatment.
DOH-7 is also ‘closely coordinating’ with operators of various quarantine facilities in Cebu to help them improve their accommodations following complaints from patients housed there.
“We are in collaboration with these operators of the facilities,” Loreche said.
“We are (also) partnering with our private hospitals to transfer patients who are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic to the TTMFs (Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities) in order to reserve the beds for the moderate to severe to critically ill patients,” she added.
Central Visayas, as of February 21, is monitoring a total of 6,195 active COVID-19 cases in which 87.56 percent are asymptomatics.
Accounting to 59 percent of the region’s active COVID-19 cases are patients from Cebu City.
Despite all of these, Loreche reassured the public that the COVID-19 outbreak in the entire Cebu island remained controllable.
But she urged them not to resort to complacency just because the situation is still manageable.
“Just because we are in the safe zone it does not mean you have to be reckless. It does not mean you have to be complacent. We want for the people to be mindful (as) it is an individual responsibility,” Loreche said. /dbs
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