Several Metro Manila hospitals overwhelmed anew amid spike in COVID-19 cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 13) — The surge in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila is pushing the capacity of several major hospitals in the region towards collapse, according to medical authorities.

As of March 13, intensive care units of the Philippine General Hospital, the San Lazaro Hospital, the Philippine Lung Center, and the East Avenue Medical Center were operating at full capacity, the frontliners said.

Bed allocations for COVID-19 cases at PGH and San Lazaro are now 70% and 60% occupied, respectively, hospital executives pointed out.

Earlier this week, the PGH announced that an online appointment is necessary before patients are allowed to have a face-to-face consultation with their physicians.

RELATED: PGH temporarily stops accepting walk-ins, implements other precautions due to rising COVID-19 cases

READ: Hospital admissions due to COVID-19 rising

"Hospitals are getting full with COVID-19 cases. Please protect yourself and your family," PGH spokesperson Dr. Jonas del Rosario said in a Facebook post.

Dr. del Rosario also urged the public to follow health protocols as the country has been reporting an increase in new COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Dennis Ordoña, head of COVID department of the East Avenue Medical Center, said that while the hospitals' ICU has always been full, they witnessed "an increase in the trend of COVID cases."

"So what is happening now is we are allocating more beds for COVID patients which were previously allocated for non-COVID patients," Dr. Ordoña added.

On Saturday, the Department of Health reported that the Philippines recorded 5,000 new COVID-19 infections for the first time in almost seven months, bringing the total to 616,611 with 9.2% or 56,679 active or currently ill patients.

READ: PH lists 5,000 COVID-19 cases for the first time since August

Dr. Anna Ong-Lim of the Department of Health-technical advisory group late on Friday said that surge should not be solely blamed on the presence of new virus variants, but also on the public's complacency.

"It's hard to say that the major driver is due to the new variants," she told CNN Philippines' News Night.

READ: DOH reports COVID-19 variant ‘unique’ to PH, first case of Brazil variant

Dr. Ong-Lim noted that while it is true that they have been picking up variants among positive cases that have undergone genome sequencing, the number was "quite low."

"When we look at people going around, we do notice that many people have become quite relaxed in the use of their personal protective equipment, face mask, face shield. I'm sure this is also contributing to our problem," she said.

Dr. Ong-Lim said the spike in COVID-19 cases should serve as a "wake up call for everybody to try to do their best to contribute towards containing this new increase in cases."

CNN Philippines' Crissy Dimatulac contributed to this report.