The country has recorded a drop in healthcare utilization rate this week compared to last week, an indication of the success of the government in its fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday.
Reporting to President Rodrigo Duterte the accomplishments of the Crisis Action Plan groups in the past eight weeks, the defense secretary said from 71 percent healthcare utilization rate last week, it dropped to 68 percent this week.
Lorenzana, the chairperson of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said there is 1 percent reduction in the use of ICU beds while a 3 percent decline in the utilization of ward beds was observed. The use of isolated beds, however, rose by 1 percent.
There was also an increase in the number of licensed hospital beds intended for COVID-19 patients. Intensive care unit (ICU) beds rose to 4,426 from 4,349, while isolation beds increased from 21,000, to 21,208. On the other hand, ward beds rose from 15,814 to 16,000.
The government also wants to ensure enough number of healthcare professionals who take care of COVID-19 patients. The defense chief reported that from 9,363, the government recently hired 9,672 healthcare professionals.
“Patuloy din nating sinisiguro ang karampatang allowances at incentives nila. Pagtitiyak ng karagdagang 325 million na pondo para sa mga DOH hospitals sa buong bansa para sa gamot, PPEs, medical supplies, pasuweldo at benepisyo sa mga health workers at iba pang kailangan,” he told the President.
The government also issued guidelines on the use of medical oxygen. These include DOH Memorandum No. 2021-0357 on the revised contingency plan to secure enough oxygen supplies in hospitals during a COVID-19 surge; DOH Administrative Order No. 2021-0042 or COVID-19 surge response plan for health facilities;
DOH Circular No. 2021-0291 on suggested retail price of medical oxygen products; and DTI Memorandum No. 2021-0395 regarding the issuance of a regional IATF resolution on the prioritization of production and distribution of medical grade oxygen.
The DTI also conducted planning workshop last September 17 to ensure continuous supply of medical oxygen, according to Lorenzana.
Despite the strict implementation of minimum public health standards, Lorenzana said authorities recorded 262,391 additional violations this week. Some 14,247 individuals were intercepted at government checkpoints while there were 1,379 unauthorized persons outside residence or UPORs.
At the same time, he said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) issued Memorandum Circular No. 11 regarding the guidelines on the provision of family food packs in support of affected families due to the declaration of granular lockdowns in their area.
The circular is in preparation for the possible extension of the imposition of granular lockdown. PND