QUARANTINE EFFORTS. National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 deputy chief implementer Secretary Vince Dizon (center) with DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain (right) and Prime BMD Chief Executive Officer Jeff Gallus (left) visit the ongoing construction of the 525-bed mega quarantine facility in Parañaque City on Monday (August 10, 2020) . The quarantine center is set to be operational and functional by August 25. (PNA photo by Lade Kabagani)
MANILA – The government is maximizing efforts to build up the country’s health care system as it is set to open another mega quarantine facility for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients in Parañaque City and hire 10,000 more medical personnel amid the raging pandemic.
Sec. Vince Dizon, National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 deputy chief implementer, on Monday said the construction of more isolation facilities is part of the government’s preparations to address problems brought by the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Dizon, also the presidential adviser for flagship projects and the country’s testing czar, said the government needs to rev up efforts for the gradual opening of the economy and imposition of a more relaxed community quarantine, as the number of Covid-19 cases is increasing during this period.
“Kasi alam natin at nakita natin in June and July kapag nagbubukas tayo, dadami ang kaso dahil mas madami nang lumalabas, mas madami nang actions pero ang kailangan lang natin is maghanda, kasama ‘to sa paghahanda natin sa mga susunod na linggo (Because we know, as we see in June and July when we opened, there is a spike of cases because many are going out and there are more movements but we just need to prepare, this is part of our preparation in the coming weeks)” he said during the NTF-Covid’s inspection of the site construction.
Dizon said the mega quarantine facility can accommodate over 500 Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms and those asymptomatic.
He added that the average number of the quarantine facilities in Metro Manila is about 70 percent including the isolation centers established by the local government units (LGUs) and other “We heal as one” Covid-19 centers.
“While we still have the 30 percent, we definitely have to build more,” he said.
10K health care workers
Dizon cited that the most challenging part of the crisis response is the shortage of medical personnel.
However, as a solution, he said the government is targeting to hire about 10,000 health care workers nationwide to be part of the medical reserve corps.
These health care workers, which include doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and other medical staff, will also be deployed to help running various quarantine facilities.
The government is also looking for medical personnel to man the biggest isolation center in Metro Manila, he said.
“We are looking at a minimum of 150 personnel to man the mega quarantine facility here [in Parañaque],” he added.
In partnership with private sectors and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Dizon said the government is set to put up more isolation centers, including in Calabarzon region.
The government is also set to convert the Ynares Sports Complex as a quarantine facility, he said, an addition to the isolation centers in Pasig City.
The result of the country’s economic performance recommends a gradual opening of the economy in order to recover, particularly in Greater Metro Manila and Calabarzon region, he said.
Modular hospital for Covid-19
Meanwhile, DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain said the government’s preparation is underway for the construction of an off-site modular hospital for coronavirus patients with moderate symptoms at the Philippine Tuberculosis Society Inc. or Quezon Institute in Quezon City.
The modular hospital is eyed with a separate nursing station, equipment laboratory, pantry, storage, CCTV lines and monitoring board, he said.
He added that the modular hospital has specific dressing rooms for the health care workers, where they can put on and take off their personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid virus transmission.
The government will also provide temporary shelters to health care workers who will man the off-site modular hospital, he said, where two off-site dormitories will be constructed within the Quezon Institute compound.
On the other hand, Dizon said the government is also working on establishing facilities for moderate patients with more equipment needed, to comply with treating more serious coronavirus symptoms.
Dizon announced that the Department of Health (DOH) is opening a brand new hospital facility at the East Avenue Memorial Center, which can accommodate 250 beds and other intensive care unit (ICU) beds for critical and severe patients.
“So this will be an exclusive Covid-19 referral hospital, an extension of the East Avenue Medical Center,” he said.
Dizon said the facility is targeted to be operational by August 17.
“Apart from quarantine facilities for asymptomatic and mild patients, we are also adding facilities for severe and critical patients,” he said.
The government is also eyeing to put up the same facility at Quirino Memorial Medical Center and UP-Philippine General Hospital, Dizon added.
“Currently, the DOH is hiring many health care workers not only to relieve the medical workers in all our hospitals now but also to deploy more health care workers for our newly-built quarantine facilities,” Dizon said. (PNA)