The Philippines has recorded 13 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), bringing the total up to 230, the Department of Health (DOH) reported Friday afternoon.
As of 12 noon on Friday, the Department of Health (DOH) has also received a report of one patient dying of COVID-19, bringing the total number of fatalities at 18.
Recovered patients are still 8.
The spread of COVID-19 pushed the government to declare a Luzon-wide lockdown, which shut down airports and public transportation, canceled classes and led to a vast work-from-home scheme for the public and private sectors.
The Philippines remains under a state of calamity as the government continues to find ways to contain the disease, described by the World Health Organization as a global pandemic after it killed over 8,000 and infected 209,000 others worldwide.
COVID-19 may be fatal for the elderly, the immunocompromised, and those with underlying medical condition but 80 percent of cases globally showed a high chance of recovery “without needing special treatment,” according to the WHO.
WHO said COVID-19 symptoms include fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. The new respiratory disease has left 3,800 dead and affected 110,000 worldwide.
Meanwhile, the DOH is considering designating two hospitals as exclusive facilities that would cater to patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to Secretary Francisco Duque III on Friday.
Duque confirmed that the Philippine General Hospital in Manila and the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Caloocan are being eyed to carry out such crucial task amid the public health emergency in the country.
“‘Yun ang ating binubuong plano sa ngayon,” he said.
There is a need for such specialized health facilities as other hospital services are being disrupted by the COVID-19 risks, Duque said.
“Nauubusan din sila ng hospital staff sa kaka-quarantine dahil kasama ‘yun kapag nangalaga ka ng COVID patient,” Duque said.
Duque is also on self-quarantine after undergoing test for the disease.
“Itong bagong concept natin ay specialized only for COVID patients. So ‘yung mga doktor doon, mga nurses doon nalang sila ika-quarantine, ang rotation doon nalang, hindi ‘yung maghihiraman,” he added.
The DOH Secretary said health authorities are still ironing out the plan as this would mean that non-coronavirus patients who are currently confined at the two hospitals would have to be transferred to other hospitals.
In a separate statement, the DOH said that the PGH has “begun ceasing admission for non-emergency cases to free up wards and rooms.”
Additional health care workers from the National Capital Region will be needed to augment the existing staff at the PGH, it added.
The Lung Center of the Philippines will also dedicate a 40-bed wing specifically for COVID-19 patients only.
“Because LCP is the referral hospital for patients with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and lung cancer, care must be taken not to expose these immunocompromised patients,” the DOH said.
During a press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that health authorities are also planning to tap other hospitals in strategic areas across the country to become COVID-19 health care facilities./Stacy Ang