By ROGER M. BALANZA
The OCTA Research Group has warned that if the past week’s record number of new COVID-19 cases daily continues, hospitals in MetroManila will be, by the first week of next month, swamped with alarming number of patients that frontliners could not handle.
OCTA researchers Fr. Nicanor Austriaco and Michael Tee issued the warning in a March 21 report in wake of “record number of new cases of COVID-19 every day” this past week, in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Based on the research group’s projection, using these figures, the total bed and ICU (intensive care unit) capacity of hospitals in NCR would reach 100 percent or full occupancy by the first week of April.
“As acknowledged by the local representative of the WHO (World Health Organization’s Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe), this explosive rise in cases in the capital region now threatens the integrity of our healthcare system,” the researchers said.
“The projection suggests that the current surge in the capital is at a critical juncture,” OCTA said.
To abort the scenario, OCTA is pushing for the national government and local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila to take drastic steps.
The National Capital Region and the adjacent provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal will all be under a general community quarantine (GCQ) from March 22 (Monday) to April 4 (Sunday), the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) said.
According to Resolution No. 104 of the IATF, the measure was adopted due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country, particularly in the said areas. In a briefing on Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the proposal has been approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Unless the national government and our LGUs take drastic and immediate action to significantly reduce the reproduction number of the surge in Metro Manila, we should expect our hospital facilities and medical frontliners to be overwhelmed within a period of several weeks, just around and after Easter,” OCTA warned.