Metro Manila hospitals report increase in COVID-19 admissions; most cases are unvaccinated

Marje Pelayo   •   August 5, 2021   •   187

MANILA, Philippines — The number of admitted COVID-19 patients in some major hospitals in Metro Manila this week has doubled— even tripled — compared to previous weeks.

The COVID-19 ward at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), is currently fully occupied with 131 patients. Inside the emergency room, more coronavirus cases await admission.

The hospital management said they are likely to establish modular tents if numbers continue to rise.

“Malaki na ito, malaki na because we are worried na mapupuno na naman ang aming emergency room at saka sa room sa itaas that we may have to limit admission sa mga renal patient lamang na may COVID, kidney patient na may COVID kasi wala kaming paglalagyan na,” said NKTI executive director Dr. Rosemarie Liquete.

Meanwhile, the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) has 154 admitted COVID patients, almost reaching its full bed capacity of 225.

Hospital administrators have noted that most of the recent COVID-19 admissions are unvaccinated patients.

“Iyon pong mga nasa ospital po sa PGH ngayon 85% po ay unvaccinated at lahat ng nasa ICU ay unvaccinated. Kaya ibig sabihin ay talaga kung hindi ka bakunado mas malamang severe ang mararanasan mo na COVID,” said PGH spokesperson Dr. Jose Jonas Del Rosario.

At Tala Hospital in Caloocan City, the number of cases tripled from 54 last week to 165 this week.

The hospital announced that admission of non-COVID-19 patients is only until Friday (August 6) because on Monday (August 9), they are converting other rooms into COVID-19 wards.

In these three hospitals, a number of healthcare workers still contracted COVID-19 but in lower numbers than before  and their symptoms are milder than those previously infected.

Hospital administrators attribute this to the fact that their healthcare workers have received COVID-19 vaccine.

Based on the contact tracing conducted among healthcare workers in Tala Hospital, infected personnel appear to have contracted the virus outside their workplaces.

“Alam mo na kung ano ginagawa sa labas. Magpa-party, pupunta ng palengke, mga family gatherings, yun ang most common na mga reasons on why maraming mga healthcare workers ang nahawa ng COVID-19,” noted Dr Alfonso Victorino Famaran, medical chief of Dr. Jose Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium (Tala Hospital).

Meanwhile, private hospitals say their bed capacity has yet to reach critical level, though similar to government hospitals, the number of COVID-19 patients coming into their care has also increased.

“Hindi pa naman karamihan yung critical yung occupancy rate. Medyo ang karamihan ngayon ay nandoon pa tayo sa mga high risk. Ibig sabihin less than 80% pa lang ang occupancy ng ibang mga ospital,” Dr. Jose Rene de Grano, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. said.

If they decide to increase their bed capacity for COVID-19 patients, they will need additional nurses to cover the job.

Hospital managements are appealing to the public to cooperate with the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to help curb virus transmission.  MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Quezon City gov’t looking into possible causes of COVID-19 spread in 2 convents

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2021

The Quezon City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU) is currently looking into the possible causes of COVID-19 outbreak in two convents in the city, the local government said Thursday.

In a statement, the city government said massive contact tracing efforts are underway to contain the further transmission of the virus.

A total of 114 individuals, including 64 nuns and 50 staff members, tested positive for COVID-19 at the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) in Cubao.

At the Convent of the Holy Spirit, 22 individuals were confirmed to have caught the virus, including 13 nuns and 9 staff members.

The city government said both facilities have been placed under lockdown.

CESU chief Dr. Rolando Cruz said they became aware of the situation after the cases were recorded in the surveillance data reported by a testing laboratory.

“Hindi po tayo ang nag-swab sa kanila. Nagpa-test po sila sa iba at nang lumabas na ang resulta sa laboratory, na-record ito sa surveillance data,” he said in the same statement.

“Now, our team is conducting an investigation and intensive contact tracing to get more details about the matter,” he added.

Cruz said part of the ongoing investigation is to determine if any of the positive individuals had any close contact with anyone outside of their facility.

Initial investigation revealed that a nun at the Convent of Holy Spirit passed away due to COVID-19 in early September. A physical therapist in the facility was reportedly exposed to the patient.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte earlier ordered the CESU to conduct active surveillance of closed settings in the city such as nursing homes and convents after 122 people, including 99 children, in an orphanage tested positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19 reproduction rate in NCR slows down to 1.28 – OCTA

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The reproduction number of coronavirus disease in the National Capital Region (NCR) has improved in the past few days, the OCTA Research Group said Thursday.

In a report posted on Twitter, OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David noted that NCR’s reproduction number, which refers to the average number of secondary infections by each positive case, eased to 1.28 from Sept. 9 to 15.

This rate is lower than the 1.39 reported during the period covering Sept. 2 to 8.

David also noted that the one-week growth rate of NCR dipped to 9 percent from Sept. 8 to 15, compared to the 14 percent recorded from Sept. 2 to 8.

“Kapag bumaba iyong reproduction number kumakaunti ang hawaan, bumabagal ang hawaan. The growth rate will also decrease like ngayon sa NCR, 1.28 reproduction number growth rate is 9% kapag bumaba ang reproduction number to 1 iyong growth rate naman pababa to 0% then magiging negative,” David said in an interview.

“Kapag negative na ang growth rate ibig sabihin kumakaunti na ang cases natin… In fact, nationally 6% na lang ang nadagdag,” he added.

David also said that the capital region recorded an average of 5,819 cases per day over the past week, while the daily attack rate per 100,000 population climbed to 41.66 from the previous 38.24. It also registered a positivity rate of 25 percent.

He noted that the NCR has not yet peaked but there is hope that it may happen in one or two weeks.

“We might be getting close to the peak nationally… That’s why we have renewed again hope that we might not hit 30,000,” he said.

“Most likely today we’ll see 20,000+ cases […] even up to 21,000 to 22,000 but we hope na it will be controlled in the sense it will not exceed the previous high 25,000-26,000. Maybe the trend will start to decrease,” he added.

David also expressed hope that the country’s health system will be able to take a breather by next month if the downward trend continues.

“Based on the trends that we are seeing, by October I am predicting —hindi ito projection, may kasamang hope and prayer — that by October, downward trend na tayo,” he said.

“Pero iyong hospitalization will still remain high for foreseeable future up to the next few weeks,” he added.

He, however, called on the public to continue adhering to the minimum public health and quarantine protocols to help curb COVID-19 infections.

PH lists 21,261 new COVID-19 cases; death toll breaches 36K

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Thursday recorded 21,261 new COVID-19 infections, pushing the tally of cases to 2,304,192 since the pandemic began in 2020.

The Department of Health (DOH) said the additional cases pushed the country’s active tally to 177,946.

Of the active cases, 86.1 percent are mild, 9.2 percent are asymptomatic, 2.65 percent are moderate, 1.4 percent are severe, and 0.6 percent are in critical condition.

Meanwhile, total recoveries rose to 2,090,228 with 13,644 new recovered patients.

Fatalities climbed to 36,018 after 277 more patients succumbed to the viral disease.

Two laboratories failed to submit data on time, the DOH noted in its report.

Out of the 74,149 tests reported on Sept. 14, around 27 percent have been found positive for COVID-19.


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