DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. (File photo)
MANILA – The country’s critical care utilization rate, referring to the number of intensive care units (ICU), isolation beds, and ventilators currently in use in different health and medical facilities, for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients has decreased, a health official said Saturday.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, in a Laging Handa public briefing aired over state-run PTV4, said this means that the capability of the country’s health system to respond to the pandemic has improved.
“So nakita natin yung pagde-decongest natin ng ating mga facilities, nakikita natin na mas nagkaroon na ng kapasidad ang ating health system para maka-accommodate ng mga pasyenteng nangangailangan (we saw that with the decongestion of our health facilities our health system has improved its capability to accommodate patients needing attention),” Vergeire said.
She said the critical care utilization reached the danger zone in August when the National Capital Region and some other parts in the country reverted to the Enhanced Community Quarantine.
Vergeire said during that time, critical care utilization was at 80 to 81 percent.
“Pero ngayon ang ating critical care utilization is already down, ‘yung bed utilization is just at 63 percent and for the ward bed and isolation beds it is just about 53 percent (but now out critical care utilization is already down, the bed utilization is just at 63 percent and for the ward bed and isolation beds it is just about 53 percent),” she added.
As the community quarantine status of various areas in the country is set to lapse by the end of September, Vergeire said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases uses different indicators in coming up with a recommendation on the measure.
“Indicators do not only rely on the number of cases in a specific area but also considers our health system capacity and other indicators such as the case doubling time and the mortality doubling time,” Vergeire said in a mix of English and Filipino.
She said the current case doubling time and mortality doubling time is now at more than 10 days which means that it is now taking a long time before new cases double in Metro Manila while the transmission rate is now also at less than one.
However, Vergeire said the public should also consider that there are still specific areas in Metro Manila where there are clustering of cases and that these should all be balanced.
Despite the improving situation, she reminded the public that imposed health safety protocols to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 must continue to be followed.
Vergeire said the DOH position on the wearing of face mask, face shield, safe physical distancing, and frequent washing of hands remains firm.
“From the very beginning we are firm on these safety health protocols because based on science and evidence also show that when you wear a mask you can decrease the incidence or probability to get infected by as much as 70 percent and if this is coupled with the wearing of the face shield, physical distancing and washing of hands you can prevent yourself from being infected by as much as 99 percent,” she added. (PNA)