PH opens COVID-19 command center to monitor hospital capacity, help in inter-facility transfer

Robie de Guzman   •   August 6, 2020   •   463

MANILA, Philippines – The national government on Thursday opened its One Hospital Command Center to monitor the capacity of the country’s medical facilities in treating patients with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 led the launching of the command center which is established in Guadalupe, Makati City.

The task force said the command center will help facilitate coordination, referral, and inter-hospital transfer of COVID-19 patients in Metro Manila.

It will also monitor the capacity and occupancy in public and private hospitals in the country, as well as the number of patients being placed in the isolation facilities.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, who also serves as the government’s treatment Czar, said the center will also be used to identify ready hospitals that can accommodate intensive care or rooms for moderate cases.

It can also be used to identify which hospitals are in need of increased bed capacity amid the public health crisis.

“What we are trying to put here is very coordinated care in terms of transfer and referral and medical directions. I think all of the hospital directors would agree that it is much better to transfer moderate and severe cases rather than have them queue in the emergency room where mortality is very high. We are also here for the strengthening the capacity,” Vega said.

The NTF advised hospitals in the country to submit data to help authorities in taking appropriate measures.

“We would like to make it enforce the compliance of all hospitals in terms of making sure that they would to submit the data collect and bed tracker to our national database so that we will have a good pictures and details where the problem is,” Vega said.

The command center will operate 24/7 with lines dedicated to answer queries or provide information on inter-facility referral and transfer of COVID-19 patients.

The COVID-19 Command Center can be reached via landline number (02) 886-505-00, and mobile numbers 0919-977-3333 and 0915-777-7777.

It may also be contacted by downloading the mobile application PureForce Citizens. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

13 local bills increasing hospital bed capacity get Senate nod

Robie de Guzman   •   June 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading 13 local hospital bills seeking to improve the delivery of health care services by increasing the bed capacity of several hospitals in the country.

The bills approved by the Senate cover the following hospitals:

  • Eastern Visayas Medical Center
  • Benjamin Romuladez General Hospital and Schistosomiasis Center
  • Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center
  • East Avenue Medical Center
  • Davao Occidental General Hospital
  • Eastern Pangasinan Regional Medical and Trauma Center
  • First Misamis Oriental General Hospital
  • Bacolod City General Hospital
  • Rosario District Hospital
  • Sinait District Hospital
  • Naguilian District Hospital in La Union
  • Senate President Neptali A. Gonzales General Hospital
  • Rizal, Palawan Lying-In Clinic

Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, who sponsored the measures, thanked his colleagues for supporting the approval of the bills.

He said the passage of the proposed legislations into law would ensure the stability of the national health care system by making sure that hospitals will have sufficient capacity resources and personnel to respond to the pandemic.

Go expressed hope that the bills would immediately be signed into law after hurdling the bicameral committee and be included in the budget for next year.


NTF probes reports on alleged selling of COVID-19 vaccines; reminds public vaccines are free

Robie de Guzman   •   May 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 has expressed concerns over reports on the alleged illicit selling of anti-COVID-19 vaccines as well as of priority vaccination slots in Metro Manila.

In a statement, the NTF said it is now investigating the matter as it reminded the public that COVID-19 vaccines are “free for all qualified citizens” and that they are not for sale.

“[T]he selling of vaccines or of the priority slots is deemed illegal and punishable by law,” the task force said.

The NTF issued the statement following reports on social media that certain individuals were offered Pfizer vaccines for the price of P15,000 and AstraZeneca vaccines for P10,000.

Some mayors in Metro Manila have earlier called on the public not to patronize the illegal sale of COVID-19 vaccines and to immediately report such activities to authorities.

The task force stressed that all vaccines procured by the national government and are being administered in the country have only been given emergency use authorization (EUA) and are not for commercial distribution.

The priority slots are also strictly intended for the A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with comorbidity) priority groups only.

The NTF warned that those involved in the illegal sale of COVID-19 vaccines will face appropriate charges.

“[F]or those who are engaged in the unauthorized sale of anti-COVID vaccines, we ask you to stop what you are doing. The long arm of the law will soon catch up on you,” it said.

“The NTF will continue to monitor developments on the investigation being carried out. We assure the public that individuals who are involved in this prohibited scheme will be penalized,” it added.

Pasig City to open temporary holding area for COVID-19 patients

Robie de Guzman   •   April 8, 2021

The Pasig City government on Thursday said it is setting up a temporary holding facility for moderate cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) amid issues on hospital bed capacity in Metro Manila.

In a series of Twitter posts, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said the temporary holding area will serve as an extension of emergency rooms as these consist of beds with medicines and basic hospital equipment and supplies.

Doctors and nurses will also be on duty to manage patients.

“These are very difficult times… Puno ang mga Ospital. Ang hirap makahanap ng bakante sa ospital, kahit sa mga kalapit nating lungsod/probinsya. Minsan hindi na makahinga ang pasyente, pero higit sa 2, 3 oras naghahanap ng mapagdadalhan ang ambulansya natin,” he said.

Sotto said the facility currently has five beds and more will be added in the coming days.

The temporary holding area will begin operations on Thursday afternoon.

The mayor also expressed gratitude for healthcare workers who continue to lead the fight against COVID-19.

“Salamat, mga healthcare frontliners, dahil hindi kayo sumusuko. Special mention to our Pasig Emergency Unit for stepping up and taking on this new task. Malayo sa ideyal ang mga pangyayari ngayon, pero kakayanin natin ito,” he said.


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