Joseph Peter Calleja, Manila
Updated: March 30, 2021 07:33 AM GMT
An elderly resident receives an AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 in Manila on March 30 after the government imposed a stricter lockdown as hospitals in the capital struggle to cope with a surge in coronavirus infections. (Photo: AFP)
Several hospitals in the Philippines have declared they can no longer accept coronavirus patients because they have exceeded their capacity to take care of them.
Catholic-run Cardinal Santos Medical Center advised Covid patients to look for other hospitals because it had reached full capacity.
“We advise patients who are suspected to be infected with Covid-19 or those who have been confirmed to be infected with the disease to proceed to other medical institutions for urgent medical attention,” said the hospital in a public advisory on March 28.
“… we continue to accept non-Covid-19 patients in our facilities … [the hospital] is implementing stringent protocols to ensure the safety of all patients, especially during this time.”
On March 29, the Philippines logged its highest single-day tally of Covid-19 cases with 10,016 infections. The country has had 13,170 deaths.
Manila’s biggest hospitals had earlier closed their doors to Covid patients to accommodate patients with serious illnesses.
“We are a cardiac center. We have a lot of heart cases. These are all high-risk patients. We hope that they [Covid patients] will have mercy and not go here,” said physician Joel Abadilla, executive director of the Philippine Heart Center.
Other private hospitals like Saint Luke’s Medical Center, De Los Santos Medical Center, Saint Luke’s Medical-Bonifacio Global City and Makati Medical Center have issued similar statements.
Another medical facility said its staff were overwhelmed by the number of patients.
“Our frontline healthcare workforce is already overstretched as 137 of them are in quarantine. Unless we are able to move the new patients to other hospitals, our healthcare delivery system is going to break down,” said Eugenio Jose Ramos, chief executive of The Medical City.
He stressed that doctors and nurses need to rest to cope with the demands of the pandemic, otherwise the Philippines’ health system would collapse.
“We cannot take the risk of letting them [medical practitioners] continue to work in case they infect others. They also need to rejuvenate so they can function … They need to take care of themselves so they can take care of others,” Ramos added.
Manila apostolic administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo has encouraged churchgoers to register for the government’s vaccination program to minimize the spread of the virus.
“I hope the people will not be afraid of vaccination because this will help us prevent being infected with the new coronavirus,” Bishop Pabillo said in an interview.
He said he is willing to open Manila churches and Catholic schools as vaccination sites.
“Our doors are open to be vaccination centers for the people. If the government lacks the facilities, we can help in order to make the vaccination program more efficient. In this way, we can lessen the continuous rise of infections in the Philippines,” Bishop Pabillo added.