PHL Medical Association president says more doctors, health workers getting COVID-19 amid spike in cases

1-week ECQ not enough as NCR hospitals now filled up with COVID-19 patients


(Eagle News) – The president of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) expressed his concerns about the rising COVID-19 cases that are overwhelming hospitals in Metro Manila, saying that more and more doctors and other medical frontliners are becoming infected and even dying from coronavirus.

Dr. Benito Atienza, in an interview over NET25’s Balitalakayan, said that even families of doctors hospitals in Metro Manila are full, including the ICU beds. There was even one incident, he said, that a nurse who got infected with COVID-19 had been denied being admitted in a hospital because it was already full.

He said some of the hospitals could not accommodate moderate and severe cases because their ICU beds are already full.

Yun pong mga ospital natin, di na po kayang tumanggap ng mga moderate to severe COVID-19 positive patients kasi po puno na ang ICU beds nila, wala na silang gamit kaya na-rerefer na sa ibang hospitals,” Atienza said.

Marami na rin po tayong mga doctor na namamatay na rin po,” he said.

-Doctors intubated in hospitals; families of health workers getting infected too-

Dr. Atienza said that more doctors are in fact getting infected. Some of the doctors who were hospitalized are intubated. Even their families have been infected with COVID-19.

“Tumaas na rin ang bilang ng mga doctor na naapektuhan ng COVID-19 infection. At katunayan po yung iba pa ay naka-intubate pa sa mga ICU natin, at ipinapanalangin natin na madali silang gumaling,” he said,

Katunayan, karaniwan na ang mga pami-pamilya na rin po ng mga doctor ang nahahawa,” he said.

Dr. Atienza also noted that recently, they have been receiving reports of one or two doctors dying almost every day. Before this peak, there were around 60 doctors who died, he said.

Ngayon, halos araw-araw may isa o 2 doktor na namamatay sa iba-ibang area,” he said over Balitalakayan.

Nakakalungkot kasi kami mismo ang apektado… “Mismo yung mga health workers, mga frontliners na hindi agad na na-admit kasi puno na ang mga ospital.”

-PMA appeals for health workers to be prioritized in hospital admissions-

The PMA chief appealed for hospitals to also prioritize admitting infected health workers. He pointed out the irony that health workers helping treat COVID-19 patients could not be admitted in hospitals when they get sick.

He cited one instance when a nurse who got COVID-19 had been denied admission in a hospital because it was already full.

Pakiusap namin sa gobyerno, bigyan naman sana ng priority ang mga health worker, o bigyan ng slot sa mga ospital,” he said.

-2-week ECQ needed-

Dr. Atienza admitted that the one-week Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the Greater Metro Manila area would not be enough to bring down the cases.

Ang ECQ, sana mga 2 weeks yan because ang quarantine natin is two weeks,” he said.

He also urged the public to strictly monitor minimum public health standards, and to strengthen contact tracing and isolation procedures.

He also warned against fake COVID-19 test results, and advised people to be more responsible amid rise in COVID-19 cases.

Atienza noted people had been lenient in the past weeks before the surge thinking that the virus was about to be defeated because of the arrival if vaccines.

He said that herd immunity could only be achieved if 70 percent to 85 percent of the population have already been vaccinated.

The 1.7 million health workers in the country are included in the A1 priority listing of the Philippine government in its vaccine rollout.   As of March 29, however, there were only 668,018 who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, accirding to vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

(Eagle News Service)