The Medical Mission Group-Puerto Princesa City Cooperative Hospital (MMG-PPCCH). | Photo from the MMG-PPCH Facebook page

The recent surge of COVID-19 cases has pushed to the limit the capacity of the two private hospitals operating in the city, both of which have already filled up their available beds for patients of the deadly virus.

Dr. Adelito Posas, Medical Mission Group-Puerto Princesa City Cooperative Hospital (MMG-PPCCH or Coop Hospital) head of clinic, said on Thursday, May 27, that their “isolation suites” are already full and they could no longer expand with additional beds for new Covid patients because they don’t have enough nurses to assign.

Since the start of the Covid surge in the city, Posas said they have allocated a certain number of beds for the Covid isolation suite, but it has already reached its limit.

“Mayroon lang tayong certain allocation sa number of COVID beds, ang tawag natin doon COVID Isolation Suite. ‘Yon ang nasa third floor [at] puno na ‘yon. ‘Yon ang sa patient, at mayroon din tayong dalawang emergency room — may COVID ER tayo at ‘yong tinatawag na non-COVID ER. Ang ibang mga pasyente na hindi natin ma-admit doon sa third floor nasa ER sila. Ibig sabihin, kapag may umuwi doon sa third floor ay ‘yong nasa ER naman ang aakyat,” he said.

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He explained that while the Department of Health (DOH) has ordered the increase in COVID-19 bed capacity from 20 percent to 30 percent, they cannot do it due to the lack of nurses to render medical care to patients.

“Limited lang din, ang dahilan kasi doon kaunti lang ang nursing staff. Maraming mga nurses either hindi nagtatrabaho or nag-aapply abroad. ‘Yon ang pinaka-major na limitasyon natin kung bakit hindi tayo makapagbukas ng maraming COVID rooms. Ganon din naman ang sa ibang hospitals lately, kasi nga kulang tayo sa nursing manpower,” he said.

“Ang DOH ay mayroon silang specific na requirements kung ilang percent sa hospital bed capacity, dati ay 20 percent lang, [then] tinaas nila ng 30 percent pero hindi na natin ‘yan macomply kasi kulang tayo ng nursing staff. Magbukas man tayo ng maraming bed, tatanggap man tayo ng maraming patients pero wala ring mamo-monitor sa kanila. It defeats the purpose of taking care sa ating mga pasyente. Ang ating batting average sa survival sa coop ay napakataas po,” Posas added.

Dr. Audie Cipriano, chief of medical professionals of the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP), the province’s main Covid facility attending mostly to severe and critical cases, said there is a proposal to utilize other government hospitals in the northern and southern part of the province to accommodate mild to moderate COVID-19 cases.

He said the ONP has also reached more than 50 percent capacity for Covid beds.

“Pino-formulate pa ang one hospital command. Ang ibang mga hospitals like sa Aborlan, sa southern Palawan. ‘Yong northern Palawan, Roxas Medicare na mag-cater na rin sila ng COVID patients na mild to moderate, kami ay moderate to critical,” Cipriano said.

“Last month pa, kaya kapag tinatawag dito ay nasa waiting list sya. Depende sa prioritization, inuuna naming ‘yong nasa quarantine facility na medyo severe. Noong nagka-surge minandate kami sa 50 percent [pero] more than 50 percent na nga kami. 58 beds ‘yong sa amin, ‘yong wards naming ginagawa na munang isolation ward. Minsan nababakante ang isa, dalawa, tatlo, tapos may papasok na naman. So ganon ‘yong turn over, mas mabagal ang turn over ng discharged kaysa sa mga pasok ng pasyente,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ian Kenneth Bermeo of the Adventist Hospital Palawan (AHP) said they have asked permission from the city government to use the private accommodation facilities in the city to extend their services to COVID patients in Puerto Princesa.

“Marami ang pasyente ni Adventist, talagang apaw ‘yong ating mga pasyente doon but kahit marami, mag-oopen pa rin tayo ng additional facility. Gusto nating tumulong sa ating mga kababayan, dapat ngayong panahon tinutulungan natin ang mga tao dito sa Puerto Princesa City,” he said.

“So ito, humingi tayo ng permiso kung maari payagan tayo na makipag-partner sa mga private accommodation facilities, for example hotels, para makapaglagay tayo ng mga tao na pwede naman ilagay doon para ma-isolate sila. At least hindi na sila uuwi at hindi na makakahawa pa sa kanilang pamilya,” Bermeo added.

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