Hospitals close doors to COVID-19 patients after reaching capacity

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

As patients flood in while hundreds of health workers are quarantined and protective gear becomes scarce, some hospitals are forced to deny admission to more COVID-19 related cases. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — As patients flood in while hundreds of health workers are quarantined and protective gear becomes scarce, some hospitals are forced to deny admission to more COVID-19 related cases.

A few hospitals have announced that they will no longer accept patients suspected or confirmed with the coronavirus disease due to unavailable facilities and equipment. These are St. Luke’s Medical Center, Manila-based Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center, the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa and Quezon City-based De Los Santos Medical Center.

St. Luke's has two branches in Quezon and Taguig cities. They are currently housing 48 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 139 patients under investigation for possible infection. Some 592 healthcare workers are also on quarantine.

“Both hospitals have already exceeded maximum capacity and admitting more COVID-19 patients will seriously impact our ability to deliver the critical level of care and attention patients need at this time,” the hospital management said in a statement.

The hospital stressed that apart from COVID-19 patients they also have to look after those who are suffering from other ailments.

“While it is our desire to extend quality healthcare to every patient that needs our help, we can only do so much at this point,” said St. Luke's management.

However, it will still provide outpatient COVID-19 testing for those who qualify under the Department of Health's criteria.

The Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center also said they can no longer accommodate more patients to treat for COVID-19 due to full wards, insufficient number of test kits and protective equipment, and a “depleted” work force.

Medical Director Samuel Ang said the hospital’s emergency room will remain open to accepting other medical concerns.

“We will be assessing our capabilities on a day to day basis and will at anytime lift this notice whenever we see fit and capable to meet the demands for your health care concerns,” said Ang in a statement.

The Asian Hospital and Medical Center said it has also "exceeded full capacity" but is still open to treating non COVID-19 patients.

De Los Santos Medical Center also said it cannot welcome more COVID-19 patients because of low protective gear supply.

“It is our responsibility to assure our frontliners, doctors, nurses and other staff be protected at all times,” the hospital management said in a statement. “It is for this reason that we will be unable to admit additional COVID-19 related cases."

Its intensive care unit and other isolated areas arranged for persons under monitoring are also full, it added.

Under the DOH's revised protocol, only patients with severe symptoms, and high-risk individuals - such as senior citizens and pregnant women - with mild symptoms are tested.

Before the revision, those who were showing mild flu-like symptoms, those with travel history to areas with local transmission and those who have made contact with a patient, were allowed to be tested for the infection.

Meanwhile, the Makati Medical Center also said it has reached capacity, or it “cannot guarantee” a room for more COVID-19 patients.

The hospital said it has attended to more than 700 suspected infected patients since the outbreak in January. The hospital said it is attending to 70 patients, including 15 percent confined at the intensive care unit. These patients are either positive for the infection or awaiting tests results.

“[We] can no longer extend the same degree of care and attention for any additional admission for COVID-19 cases,” said Medical Director Saturnino Javier

On Monday, The Medical City in Pasig also exceeded capacity with 18 COVID-19 patients and 64 persons under investigation. There are also 137 healthcare and frontline workers from the hospital who are on quarantine.

"We do not wish to turn you all away, but the reality is that we can no longer provide your loved ones the care they need. Your own initiative to look for other hospitals is appreciated,” its management said.

Earlier, the Health Department designated the Philippine General Hospital in Manila and Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Caloocan City as facilities that exclusively cater to COVID-19 patients.

The agency also said the Lung Center of the Philippines will also dedicate one wing (with 40 beds) specifically for COVID-19 patients.