Almost a third or 42 out of 159 hospitals in the National Capital Region are at critical level or almost out of vacant beds, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.
The DOH said some hospitals in the provinces are already at full capacity, and not just in Metro Manila.
The country is also facing supply shortage of tocilizumab, a drug used off-label to treat COVID-19.
Melissa Guerrero, program manager of the DOH pharmaceutical division, said the drug is expected to remain limited until December.
“The manufacturer has already notified us that there will really be some severe stockouts until December,” she said.
The DOH has written to the Philippine embassies in Switzerland and the United States to seek help in obtaining even just a portion of their reserve allocations.
For his part, treatment czar Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said some patients are calling the One COVID-19 Referral Hospital to ask for a hospital in the National Capital Region that can still accommodate them.
The Pasay City General Hospital emergency room reopened after it temporarily closed due to full capacity of patients.
As of 6:30 a.m. Thursday, there were two available COVID beds for adults at the hospital.
Moreover, the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU),was still fully occupied.
The Philippines logged 16,621 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 2,020,484.
There were 148 new fatalities, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 33,680—or 1.67 percent of all cases.
The DOH also reported 10,965 persons who recently recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 1,840,294 or 91.1 percent of the total.
There were 146,510 active cases, or 7.3 percent of the total, of which 96.2 percent were mild, 1.1 percent were asymptomatic, 0.6 percent were critical, 1.1 percent were severe, and 0.99 percent were moderate.
The positivity rate was at 26.9 percent, based on the results of 60,973 individuals who were tested on Monday.
Nationwide, 74 percent of the ICU beds, 66 percent of the isolation beds, 71 percent of the ward beds, and 55 percent of the ventilators, were in use.
In Metro Manila, 73 percent of the ICU beds, 67 percent of the isolation beds, 73 percent of the ward beds, and 60 percent of the ventilators, were in use.
The independent OCTA Research Group, meanwhile, said the reproduction number in Metro Manila had decreed to 1.39 as of Sept. 2, down from 1.43 on Aug. 31.
“Based on current trends, it is possible that the reproduction number in the NCR may decrease below 1 by the third week of September,” it said.
“Until then, we expect new cases to continue to increase, albeit at a slower growth rate,” it added.
Reproduction number refers to the average number of secondary infections by each infected individual.
NCR posted an average of 4,637 new infections during the seven-day period, up 12 percent from the previous week.
Other indicators of the coronavirus situation in the region include the following:
– Average daily attack rate (33.20 cases per 100,000 population; critical level)
– Positivity rate (24 percent)
– Hospital bed occupancy (69 percent)
– ICU occupancy (71 percent)
NCR had 39,388 active cases as of Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
The OCTA report said seven local government units are down to a single-digit growth rate: they are Muntinlupa (9 percent), Pasay (0 percent), Malabon (6 percent), Valenzuela (3 percent), Manila (0 percent), Caloocan (3 percent) and Quezon City (4 percent).
The Palace rejected an OCTA proposal to impose a three-week hard lockdown in areas considered to be COVID-19 hotspots.
In an online press briefing, Roque said the proposed implementation of hard lockdowns is “not doable” because the government is aiming for “total health” amid the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
Roque said the government is concentrating on addressing worsening hunger caused by the temporary closure of the country’s economy due to the pandemic.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday lowered the price cap for RT-PCR tests to P2,450 from P3,360 for public and private facilities.
In a post on Facebook, the DOH said RT-PCR testing public facilities should be priced P2,450 to P2,800 at maximum.
The cost of RT-PCR testing at private facilities must be valued from P2,940 to P3,360 at the maximum.
Price cap for home service must be at P1,000, the DOH said.
Last year, the DOH set the price cap of RT-PCR tests at P3,800 for public facilities and P4,500 to P5,000 for private hospitals and laboratories.
DOH previously said it will bring down the price cap for COVID-19 tests to ramp up testing capacity.