The Department of Health (DOH) assured that it is boosting measures against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the Visayas and Mindanao, as both regions grapple with a surge in infections.
In a virtual presser on Friday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Bicol Region in Luzon, the regions of Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have logged a two-week growth rate in new cases while those in the National Capital Region (NCR) and its neighboring areas are on a decline.
“The DOH is continuously monitoring the regions of Visayas and Mindanao. This is simultaneously done with various measures we are imposing to strengthen our health care capacity,” Vergeire said.
In response to the surge in infections, DOH Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama Jr. said public hospitals in the Visayas and Mindanao have been ordered to review their surge capacity plans and increase the number of their dedicated Covid-19 beds in intensive care units (ICU) by 50 percent.
“Meanwhile, we are asking private hospitals to increase their dedicated Covid-19 beds in ICUs by 20 percent to 30 percent,” Dumama said.
To date, he said about 365 ICU beds have been added in Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, and Caraga while about 957 ward beds have been added in these regions and in the BARMM.
However, he said some regions in Visayas and Mindanao have yet to reach their target of one TTMF bed per 1,000 population.
To ensure that enough healthcare workers treat the sick, he said the DOH in Visayas and Mindanao have begun emergency hiring of health care workers and have deputized doctors for priority level 2 hospitals and TTMFs.
Since February, he said around 4,000 health care workers have so far been deployed in Western Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao Region, Soccsksargen and Caraga.
He said Centers for Health Development (CHD) are also equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) sets and other life-saving equipment.
To date, he said PPE sets worth P2.7 million have been distributed across Region 9 while almost 130,000 pieces of PPE sets have been distributed in other regions.
To help the public manage hospital costs related to Covid-19, he said CHDs are coordinating with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), the Malasakit Program Office, and hospitals for talks on Covid-19 claims.
He said DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III has ordered all DOH regional directors to coordinate with the respective regional assistance vice president of PhilHealth in their area to assist and accelerate payment to hospitals. SOVEREIGNPH