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DOH fears covid surge after xmas

WHILE reminding the public to celebrate the holidays safely and to religiously abide by the minimum public health standards to prevent contracting COVID-19, the Department of Health is nevertheless bracing for a surge in COVID cases after the Christmas holidays.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said they have started taking measures to address a possible surge, starting with an inspection of the department’s COVID-19 dedicated hospitals.

Duque, along with Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, Assistant Secretary Elmer Punzalan, and Metro Manila Center for Health Development OIC – Director Corazon Flores, checked Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium (Tala Hospital) last week as it readied for the potential spike of COVID-19 cases after the holiday season.

Tala Hospital Director Alfonso Victorino Famaran, Chief of Medical and Professional Staff Dave Elvin Sanches, and Chief Nurse Samuel Cortez Sumilang led the inspection and explained their strategy on significantly decreasing their COVID-19 cases, and preparations ahead of an anticipated surge of cases.

“Our strategy from the onset of the pandemic was to transition our facilities and services to exclusively serve COVID-19 patients to alleviate the pressure from our health capacity system. We simply retained the current configuration to prepare for the potential spike of COVID-19 cases due to the holiday season. We also dedicated 63% of our 800 actual bed capacity which is 30% more than what is mandated,” Dr. Famaran explained.

Duque acknowledged the hospital’s successful response during the height of the pandemic, saying “Tala hospital is a prime example and should serve as an inspiration to other institutions, private and public, on their strategy to address the potential increase in COVID-19 cases. They prepared more than what was mandated following from their experience as a referral site for patients from other hospitals.”

The health chief has been appealing to the public to celebrate the holidays safely by faithfully following the minimum public health standards.

“With constant sanitizing and physical distancing, we not only ensure the health and safety of our family and friends, but also provide our healthcare heroes the opportunity to celebrate with their families as well,” he said.