THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said it ended the month of April with the completion of 662 units of health facilities with 24,513 beds nationwide, as coronavirus cases in the country continue to increase.
The added bed capacity should help meet the country’s healthcare demand amid a pandemic crisis, the department said in a statement issued over the weekend.
It also said the capacity of the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City is currently being expanded.
The hospital needs to “cope with the increase in the number of patients brought by the climb of cases for people infected with COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019),” the department noted.
It said the project covers the construction of “four typical (modular units) with 88 beds and one intensive care unit (ICU) type modular hospital with 22 beds or a total of 110-bed capacity.”
The DPWH also reported that it had completed 10 modular hospital projects with a total capacity of 252 beds for coronavirus treatment and 60 units of off-site dormitories as temporary shelter for approximately 1,456 healthcare workers.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte announced last week the extension of the second strictest lockdown level — or modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) — in Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal until May 14 as the country continues to have one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the region.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told an online news briefing on May 1 that the two-week extension of MECQ will help decongest hospitals.
“Gusto ho natin palakasin pa iyong ating (We want to strengthen our) health system capacity, makapagdagdag pa ng (have) additional beds, makapag-decongest ng ospital at mas maiayos po natin ang sitwasyon dito po sa ating mga lugar (decongest the hospitals and further improve the situation in these areas),” she said.
Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has said that increased hospital bed and ICU capacity and an improved contact-tracing system are necessary before Metro Manila and nearby provinces can be placed under the more relaxed general community quarantine. — Arjay L. Balinbin