Hiked bed allocations for COVID patients sought

SURIGAO del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Friday expressed bewilderment at the Department of Health’s (DoH) yet another turnaround on its earlier announcement that our health care system is now in critical level due to the rapid increase in COVID infections, filling the hospitals’ bed capacity.

Through Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, DoH said that it is not true that our health care system is in critical situation and that hospitals allocated just a small percentage of their bed capacity which made it look like they are already full and cannot anymore accommodate more patients.

He also said that increasing the bed allocations for COVID patients in all hospitals is the solution.

“This is simply unbelievable and outright unacceptable.  DOH may allocate thousands of beds and build hospitals to show that every
COVID-infected patient can be accommodated.

But the real issue is not the number of beds, but the number of health workers - doctors and nurses. Dozens of them have already died.  There were no replacements.  While you can build more beds and hospitals, you cannot instantly create doctors and nurses.  You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that,” Barbers said.

“Other hospitals are already having their doctors and nurses extend duties up to 12 hours.  Increasing the number of patients that they can attend to will put both them and the patients at great risks. Only fools will see otherwise,” Barbers added.

“As if this skewed view is not enough, DoH boldly proclaimed the recovery of 38,000 asymptomatic and mild cases 14 days after testing positive just by mere assumption and without concrete proof.

This is the most incredible and irresponsible public health announcement I have ever heard.  I really could not fathom the objective that the DoH is trying so hard to achieve by these pronouncements, Barbers said.

“I could not comprehend what tune they are singing to, but certainly we are in a totally miserable situation with this kind of mentality and gross incompetence. From day 1, it was blunder after blunder. 

At first, Sec. Duque said that we need not ban flights from China because they are our friends and; that we are ‘prepared’ for the virus and ‘we
can handle the situation’ if it comes to us.  Then when the virus arrived ‘it is under control’. 

Then in May he said ‘we are already in the second wave’ only to be rebuffed by the Cabinet.

Then just a few weeks ago, when he viewed the graph maybe from the back, he said that ‘we have flattened the curve since April.’  The complete overhaul of DoH is long overdue.  Why are they downplaying the real situation?  If they are saying this to satisfy and please the ears of the business sector and to justify the further easing of quarantine restrictions, then they are using the wrong assumptions and putting people in greater peril,” Barbers said.