Opinion

Preventing a crash

Preventing a crash

Even under normal circumstances, the country’s public health system is already inadequate. This will obviously be aggravated if health professionals themselves are the ones who are infected by the coronavirus disease 2019 and hospitals are overwhelmed.

Yesterday, 11 of the country’s biggest private hospitals issued a statement, warning that the COVID-19 health crisis could make the health system “crash” if exposure to the potentially deadly virus continues to deplete their workforce.

In The Medical City alone, about 140 doctors and nurses are now on quarantine because of exposure to patients with the coronavirus disease 2019. Some of the doctors are now on respirators, according to the hospital’s president and chief executive officer Eugene Ramos.

He’s worried about how the hospital can cope if the demand for confinement in the intensive care unit will spike. The hospital is already hard-pressed to attend to patients with non-COVID afflictions. Ramos also warns of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks following the crowding that was seen at quarantine checkpoints around Metro Manila.

To ease the strain on the hospitals, the government has designated two state-run health facilities that will be dedicated to dealing with COVID cases: the Philippine General Hospital in Manila and Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Tala, Caloocan. Government health officials said they aimed to set up other COVID-dedicated hospitals in other parts of the country.

Apart from testing and confinement, the country also needs quarantine facilities. Some private hotels, currently barred from accepting new bookings, have stepped up and offered or agreed to have their premises used for quarantine purposes. This will further minimize the potential of COVID-19 patients to spread the coronavirus before test results confirm their infection.

With the approval of imported COVID-19 test kits for use in the country, results can be released faster, reducing the potential of infected people to spread the virus before they are properly diagnosed. In the battle against the highly contagious and potentially deadly COVID-19, the health professionals are the front-line warriors. They should be equipped with sufficient weapons and get the most stringent protection so they can win the war against COVID-19.a