The Department of Health (DOH) said the 15,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) for Filipino front-liners are now undergoing quality assurance at the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) warehouse.
This is the first batch in the one million PPE sets purchased by the government at PHP1.8 billion.
“The first batch will be distributed to East Avenue Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, PGH (Philippine General Hospital), Dr. Jose Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, and Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual press conference.
In an update, Vergeire said the country has 2,796 isolation beds at all Level 2 and 3 public and private hospitals as well as 1,263 vacant ventilators.
“Currently, these are still enough based on the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country. But this does not mean we are going to stop. The procurement service of the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) is procuring for DOH an initial 1,500 ventilators,” she said in Filipino.
There are a total of 227 new cases of Covid-19 in the Philippines, bringing the total number to 2,311. Of this number, 96 have died while 50 have recovered.
Vergeire said the DOH continues to enhance the testing capacity of laboratories in the Philippines.
“At present, the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) as the national reference laboratory can now process 1,000 tests a day, while our sub-national laboratories can do at least 160 daily like the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, San Lazaro Medical Center, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and Southern Philippines Medical Center,” she said.
The University of the Philippines National Institute of Health, on the other hand, is now processing 40 to 60 tests a day.
On Tuesday, the DOH opened the Lung Center of the Philippines as a testing center.
Citing data from the RITM, Vergeire said 15,833 specimens have been processed, of which 3,058 tests were positive, 12,776 were negative, and 49 tests “equivocal” or unclear whether negative or positive and have to undergo repeat tests to ascertain results.
There are 1,413 samples still pending processing, she added.
Meanwhile, the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) urged the DOH to allot test kits for healthcare workers (HCW) to eliminate and prevent further casualties of front-liners.
“Periodic testing can reassure the HCWs and response teams that they are not a source of infection to their families and patients when they report back for work and resume their duties. This will also improve the morale of our HCWs and give them the confidence to complete their jobs with minimal distractions,” it said in a statement. (PNA)