Technical issues struck the Department of Health’s COVID Kaya data repository system on Tuesday, leading to a relatively low count of 12,751 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday amid record infections due to the community transmission of the Delta variant.
“This issue is currently being resolved with the Department of Information and Communications Technology. We can expect higher numbers in the next few days as we resolve the issue,” the department said in a statement.
This developed as President Rodrigo Duterte apologized to those who think he has fallen short in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
“I fulfilled my oath of office. If you think I fell short, sorry. I did the best I could. If my best was not good enough, I apologize. It was the best I could do,” the President said in a taped message aired Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, the healthcare utilization rate (HCUR) has reached 85 percent or a critical risk level in 14 out of the 32 COVID-19 referral hospitals nationwide amid the surge in new COVID-19 cases, GMA News reported.
HCUR refers to the occupancy of isolation, ward, and intensive care unit beds, and the use of mechanical ventilators.
Although five laboratories failed to submit data on time, the country’s total recorded cases stood at 2,134,005, with 151,135 or 7.1 percent in active infections and a positivity rate of 28.1 percent – or nearly 3 in 10 people screened for the virus testing positive.
There were also 174 COVID-related deaths, pushing the death toll to 34,672. Recoveries, meanwhile, increased by 20,151 to 1,948,198.
Based on GMA News data, HCUR was at 100 percent for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Amai Pakpak Medical Center, 99 percent for the Region 1 Medical Center and the Southern Philippine Medical Center, and 96 percent for the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, the Lung Center of the Philippines, and the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.
The usage rate was at 95 percent for the UP-Philippine General Hospital and the Quirino Memorial Medical Center, 92 percent for the Batangas Medical Center, and 91 percent for the Jose Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital and the Dr. Paulino Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center.
The Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Region II reported an HCUR of 86 percent, the lowest of the 14 referral hospitals, while the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital recorded 89 percent.
According to the data, five referral hospitals are also considered high risk, which is when it is recorded between 70 to 85 percent.
These are the Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center at 70 percent, the San Lazaro Hospital at 71 percent, the Northern Mindanao Medical Center at 75 percent, the Cotabato Region and Medical Center at 76 percent, and the Western Visayas Medical Center at 77 percent.
The DOH earlier said 5,435 of the 6,808 beds in all COVID-19 referral hospitals are occupied, while 1,440 of the 1,815 ICU beds are being utilized.
Around a third or 608 of the 966 total mechanical ventilators are also in use.
Meanwhile, Duterte appealed to healthcare workers to be patient with the delayed releases of allowances due them amid the pandemic, saying their benefits will be granted as soon as the government secures money for it.
“I want to tell our health workers, if we have the money, we will release those benefits to you because otherwise, why would we keep the money?” he said.
“Give us time to adjust the finances because we had to collate whatever was left or available under Bayanihan 1 and 2 [laws]. We ask for a little understanding,” Duterte added.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who was present during Duterte’s speech, admitted that the government is still looking for funding for the meals, accommodation, and transportation (MAT) allowances for healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The needed MAT allowance, the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) and DOH are currently looking for funds for these benefits so we can grant them to health workers in both public and private hospitals,” Duque said.
The health chief had said that from September 2020 to June this year, the government released P14.3 billion worth of benefits for health workers.
Since then, Duque said the government has also released P311 million and P888 million for the Special Risk Allowance of health workers.
The SRA was released after health workers protested en masse and threatened to resign while the country is fighting the surge in COVID-19 cases.