SPMC to handle all COVID-19 patients in Davao City as cases go down

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 7 April) – All coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Davao City will now be referred to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), to give private hospitals a “breather” as the city recorded fewer active cases, a top health official confirmed Wednesday.

Speaking over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), Dr. Ashley Lopez, Davao City Health Office (CHO) acting head, said the COVID-19 beds at SPMC have been underutilized, leaving more beds vacant for weeks already.

As of April 6, the government-run SPMC, which has been designated as the city’s primary isolation unit for COVID-19 patients, recorded a COVID-19 ward bed utilization rate of only 44.8 percent.

“Our (COVID-19) numbers right now are low that we can accommodate more at the SPMC, where they can be attended to, particularly the moderate, severe and critical cases,” he said.

Lopez, however, said that this does not mean that the private hospitals would abandon their responsibility in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added that they must be prepared to reopen their COVID-19 wards should the need arises.

Under Department of Health (DOH) Administrative Order No. 2020-2016, all public hospitals are required to allocate at least “30% of its total bed capacity for COVID-19 cases, while private hospitals should allot at least 20%.”

Lopez stressed that private hospitals should backup SPMC in case the latter could no longer accommodate COVID-19 cases.

Last Monday, Mayor Sara Duterte urged private hospitals in the city to prepare for a possible surge amid the alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region.

She confirmed the different private hospitals in the city, during a recent meeting, agreed not to accept COVID-19 patients, but will refer them to the SPMC, due to the fewer positive cases reported in the locality in the past few weeks.

The private hospitals will reopen their COVID-19 beds if there will be a surge that will be beyond the capacity of SMPC, she added.

As of April 6, the DOH-Davao Region reported 26 new cases, bringing the total to 21,878, of whom 794 are active, 20,138 have recovered and 946 ending in deaths across the region.

Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 13,849 cases. The city recorded 297 active cases, 12,873 recoveries and 679 deaths.

Davao de Oro reported 1,401 cases, Davao del Norte with 3,592, Davao del Sur with 1,461, Davao Occidental with 220 and Davao Oriental with 1,355. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)