SENATORS on Wednesday proposed that military hospitals and other state-owned facilities be converted into health centers to treat patients infected with the novel coronavirus.

Senator Francis N. Pangilinan said the Quezon Institute, Victoriano Luna Hospital and Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City can accommodate COVID-19 patients.

The Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Philippine Sports Complex and Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) can also be used as isolation centers for patients with mild symptoms, he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Health authorities reported 84 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, bringing the total to 636.

In a bulletin, the Health department said three more patients aged 56, 57 and 82 had died, raising the death toll to 38.

Six more patients — Filipinos aged 28 to 66 — have recovered, bringing the total of those who have gotten well to 26, it said.

Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara recommended that the Coconut Palace in Pasay City be used to house health care workers.

Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay said newly restored sports complexes may be used to house patients under investigation to decongest hospitals and other health facilities.

“We don’t know when this crisis will end,” she said in a statement. Patients under investigation for the virus may peak at several thousands in three to four months, she said, citing local health authorities.

“If there will be no interventions to decongest hospitals and provide alternative half-way centers, we will only make the situation worse,” Ms. Binay said.

The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex houses the Rizal Memorial Coliseum with 8,000 seats, dormitories, an open-air track, baseball and football fields, tennis and other indoor sports facilities.

St. Luke’s Medical Center, which has branches in Quezon City and Taguig City, and the Medical City in Pasig earlier said they have stopped admitting COVID-19 patients for confinement because of overcapacity.

St. Luke’s said accepting more COVID-19 patients would affect its ability to “deliver the critical level of care and attention patients need at this time.”

Management said its hospitals were also treating non-COVID-19 patients on other floors and their health could not be compromised, it said.

St. Luke’s hospitals were caring for 48 COVID-19 patients, 139 patients under investigation and 592 of their own health care workers who were on quarantine, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Medical City on Monday said it had exceeded capacity and their frontline health care workforce was overstretched, with 137 staff in quarantine.

The hospital had admitted 64 patients under investigation and 18 COVID-19-positive patients. It also said it had 11 patients in its Emergency Department waiting for rooms, six were on mechanical ventilators, and five were in critical condition.

Also yesterday, the Department of Health said it was looking for a community quarantine facility that will accommodate novel coronavirus patients with mild or who show no symptoms.

The agency was working with the Quezon institute and Philippine Red Cross so it could start a big quarantine facility, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said at a briefing.

The Public Works department had offered 125 evacuation centers and was studying how to convert schools into a facility for coronavirus patients, she said.

DoH has designated the Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines and Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium as referral hospitals for COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, Bacolod City has started preparing schools as quarantine sites for patients under investigation and monitoring to help decongest hospitals.

In a statement, the local government said South Hills Academy had offered 17 classrooms as a holding area for patients under monitoring — people who either had a travel or exposure history.

Bacolod will use the old West Negros School of Nursing for patients under investigation with mild symptoms.

Bacolod City was monitoring 1,526 patients and investigating 25 others. Seventeen patients have been discharged, seven were still admitted, and one has died. — Charmaine A. Tadalan, Vann Marlo M. Villegas and Maria Filomena S. Jara