Davao City private hospitals halt Covid-19 admission

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WITH only few patients admitted due to the continuing downtrend of coronavirus infections, private hospitals in Davao City suspend the admission of Covid-19 patients and will refer them to Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said.

She said in a radio interview on Monday, April 5, 2021, that different private hospitals decided and agreed during a meeting that they “will no longer accept Covid-19 patients anymore” and that all Covid-19 patients will be referred to SPMC.

This makes the SPMC the sole Covid-19 referral hospital in the city again.

"So ang ilahang arrangement karon (Their arrangement for now) is they will switch back to SPMC as the only Covid-19 hospital diri sa ato sa (here in) Davao City," Duterte-Carpio said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

She said, however, that private hospitals have to prepare their beds and facilities in case of a possible surge. By that time, she said, they will resume accepting patients.

Private hospitals in the city started accepting Covid-19 patients when the city reverted to general community quarantine on November 20, 2020 following the surge of cases, reaching a peak of 2,500 active cases beginning mid-October last year.

The move is part of the One Hospital system requiring private hospitals in the city to admit Covid-19 patients in a bid to decongest SPMC.

A total of 17 identified private hospitals in the city were ordered to allocate 20 percent of their total bed capacity for Covid-19 patients.

Prior to this, SPMC was designated as the only Covid-19 referral hospital in the city during the early days of the pandemic.

Duterte-Carpio even issued Executive Order (EO) 20-A last year, prohibiting private hospitals from accepting suspected Covid-19 patients and confirmed cases. This was done to contain the virus and for easier detection and monitoring.

SunStar Davao reached out to SPMC Chief Dr. Ricardo Audan for additional information on the mayor’s statement.

He, however, admitted that he was only informed on this arrangement by the media.

Nonetheless, Audan said SPMC is prepared to accept Covid-19 patients.

“We are ready for this. Naga-prepare pud mi sa (We are preparing for a possible) surge. Ang nindot lang ani is medyo mubo atong data (The good thing about it is our data [Covid-19 cases] is low), and we have beds not utilized, and these are intended, just in case there will be a surge,” the SPMC chief said in a phone interview.

The hospital head added they are preparing for the possible surge of cases in the city, as what is being experienced in Metro Manila, and Cebu as of now.

Audan said they had felt the decongestion when the city experienced a continuous downtrend of Covid-19 cases.

As of April 5, SPMC’s intensive care unit (ICU) beds are 71.43 percent occupied, while ward beds are 44.48 percent occupied.

Compared to the early days of ECQ, Audan said they have expanded more beds, facilities, and manpower.

“So far okey pa man ta. (we are okay.) Although it is not ideal, but at least naa pa (we still have available beds),” he said.

Audan also revealed that SPMC is still struggling to look for more nurses and other medical assistants to cater to the possible admission of a large number of patients in the event of the surge.

Audan admitted that they were worried when the mandatory reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport, also known as Davao International Airport, was suspended in compliance to the issued Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) resolution on unified travel requirements.

He said they were relieved when the mandatory RT-PCR test was reimposed, as it is an effective way to control the spread of the virus, and the possible entry of the new Covid-19 variants in the city.

He also said they are supporting the recommendation of the Davao City Health Office to mandate all air travellers from the National Capital Region plus areas, and Cebu to undergo a 14-day quarantine at the city’s quarantine facility.

“If we want to protect the city, we must strictly follow the guidelines,” he said.


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