Utilization rate of beds for COVID at SPMC reaches “danger zone”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 October) – The utilization rate of the beds intended for COVID-19 patients at the Southern Philippines Medical Center has reached the “danger zone,” forcing the hospital to convert its old orthopedic ward into an area for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

Dr. Ricardo Audan, SPMC officer-in-charge said in an interview on Friday that the 20-bed orthopedic ward has been opened for COVID-19 patients starting Wednesday, bringing the capacity of the government-run hospital’s isolation quarter to 247 beds.

As of October 8, the SPMC reported that 227 or 91.90% of the 247 beds in the isolation ward had been occupied.

Based on the critical care utilization of the Department of Health, the bed capacity is in the “safe zone” when occupancy rate is from 1-30%, “warning zone” from 31-71%, and “danger zone” from 71-100%.

The SPMC also reported that 28 or 84.85% of the 33 intensive care unit beds had been occupied.

Audan said some patients in the ICU whose conditions have improved were transferred to the isolation ward for observation.

The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

He added mild cases in the isolation ward could be transferred either to the designated temporary treatment and monitoring facilities or to the satellite facility of the Davao Doctors Hospital in Barangay Dumoy.

“Our strategy is to reassess the patients. If they are improving, they can continue the quarantine at the TTMF,” he said.

Moderate to critical cases are confined in the ICU and mild ones in the TTMF, he said.

He said the hospital was allowed to open 300 to 500 COVID-19 beds.

Audan said the hospital has available facilities which can accommodate COVID-19 admissions but could not readily do so due to lack of manpower.

He said the Philippine National Police deployed nurses last Tuesday to run a COVID-19 facility at SPMC.

He said the hospital was planning to tap more nurses from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Davao to augment its manpower.

“We have several beds but we don’t have staffing. That’s the problem… We don’t have staff. That’s why our target is to ask help from BFP for nurses,” he said.

He lamented that the SPMC is continuously hiring nurses but only a few have applied.

“We need at least a minimum of 20 to run an area because there are three shifts,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)