There were fewer coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients admitted to hospitals in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces after the two-week modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) than there were before the strict lockdown was imposed.
In a press briefing on Friday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted that just before the MECQ, the hospitals’ capacity rate for Covid-19 admissions reached from 81 to 86 percent.
After the lockdown was lifted on August 18, the number of admissions tapered off, Vergeire said.
Metro Manila hospitals now have an overall utilization rate of 69 percent for intensive care unit beds, 70 percent for isolation beds, and 76 percent for ward beds, she reported.
“At the very least, we are decongesting as we are seeing the number of people that we send to TTMFs (Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility) through Oplan Kalinga,” Vergeire said.
She attributed the drop in hospital admissions to the recalibrated response implemented in Metro Manila during the MECQ.
But Vergeire made it clear that the objective of the MECQ was not to dramatically reduce the number of Covid cases.
“People were expecting that if we were able to do this stricter community quarantine for two weeks, that cases would be dramatically reduced. That was not the objective why we did that,” she said.
The lockdown was to give the health system breathing room to recalibrate its strategies, including the creation of the One Hospital Command center and the coordination with local government units through the Coordinated Operations to Defeat the Epidemic or CODE strategy.
The strategies have the long-term objective of eventually reducing the number of cases and decongesting hospitals.
On Friday, 3,999 new Covid cases were reported, bringing the total to 209,544. Metro Manila alone recorded 2,097 new cases.