Mobile hospitals eyed amid increase in Covid cases

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A Palace official on Monday said the national government will be putting up “mobile hospitals” as more hospitals in Metro Manila are close to reaching full capacity for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this idea was raised in a special meeting with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Senate Health Committee Chair, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go last Saturday.

Roque said the meeting took place after the regular meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

“We had a special meeting actually, attended by ES and Senator Bong Go with Secretary Duque, there is now plan to build mobile tents ‘no ICU facilities of up to 200 beds ‘no. So we have even identified the area, owned by a government-owned and -controlled corporation for this special ICU facility,” he said, referring to Department of Health Secretary Harry Roque.

He said establishing mobile hospitals would require less time than building actual hospitals.

“So we are doing what other countries did at the height of their own pandemics and relying now on mobile hospitals. So because it takes time to build real hospitals, we need to rely on these mobile hospitals now,” he added.

Roque, meanwhile, assured the government continues to build isolation facilities to cater to Covid-9 patients.

“The good news is, we have now built additional critical care capacity,” he said.

The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) placed under Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, and Rizal until April 11 is expected to help decongest hospitals.

Health Undersecretary and Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government is preventing hospitals from reaching full capacity by slowly transferring mild and asymptomatic patients from tertiary hospitals to lower-level facilities or quarantine facilities.

She said health authorities are also ensuring patient transport vehicles are immediately available.

Local government units (LGUs), for their part, are setting up telemedicine hotlines with call transfer capacities, she added.

LGUs are also institutionalizing a “triage system” to exhaust government assets and complement with needed manpower and other logistical needs.

Public schools are also being converted to isolation centers while more hospital tents are being set up to attend to Covid-19 patients.

As of Monday, health authorities recorded 8,355 new confirmed cases, increasing the country’s active cases to 143,726.

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