QUEZON CITY (11 AUGUST 2021) — Amid the rising COVID-19 cases possibly caused by the highly-transmissible Delta variant, the government continues to beef-up its treatment strategy in parallel with the implementation of the national immunization program.

In line with these efforts, the government inaugurated on Wednesday a 108-bed COVID-19 modular hospital here at the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) on Wednesday, which is seen as a major stride in upscaling the country’s healthcare capacity.

In his opening remarks, Health Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force for the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Chair Francisco Duque III acknowledged the importance of establishing more COVID-19 treatment facilities across the country.

“Kritikal po sa patuloy na pagpapahusay ng ating pagresponde sa pandemyang COVID-19 ang mabilis na pagpapalawig ng ating sistemang pangkalusugan, kaya naman hindi matatawaran ang bawat modular hospital na ating naitatag,” Duque said.

“Ang kada kama na naidadagdag natin ay isang kamang pwede nating gamitin para sa pagpapagaling ng ating mga kapwang Pilipino, na may moderate na sintomas, hanggang sa severe to critical,” he added.

Emergency measures

Built by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) using pre-fabricated sandwich panels, the 108-bed offsite modular hospital consists of one intensive Care Unit (ICU) which has 20 beds and one emergency COVID-19 surgery suite.

The four other units have 22 beds each and are fully-air conditioned. They are also equipped with oxygen outlets, a Nurse Call button, and a separate toilet and bath with hot and cold showers.

Dr. Vincent Balanag, Jr., LCP Executive Director, thanked the national government for continuously supporting the healthcare institution, and for including their medical staff’s suggestions in the design of the facility.

“We in the Lung Center are happy that our inputs from the medical and engineering staff were considered in the building of this modular hospital so that this will become more durable, more user-friendly, and we can continue to use this facility as long as COVID is here,” Balanag said.

“These structures, as well as all human material resources received by the hospital from the national government, are tangible proof of the trust and confidence you have placed on the Lung Center in meeting the challenge presented by COVID in terms of medical care,” he added.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Herminio Roque, Jr. congratulated the DPWH for its swift construction of the modular hospital.

“Napakabilis po ng kanilang pagtayo ng modular hospital, if I’m not mistaken this is even quicker now — this is 40 days to build 108 beds,” Roque said.

In response, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar acknowledged the assistance provided by partners in building the modular hospital — IATF, the LCP, the DOH, and the contractor, Nationstar Development Corporation.

“I am grateful and thankful for all those involved, who helped this much-needed hospital facility [to be] completed,” Villar said.

More life-saving vaccines on the way

As the country prepares for possible spikes in COVID-19 infections nationwide with the construction of more modular hospitals that would cater to moderate, severe and critical cases, the government continues to scale up its vaccination efforts.

This was the assurance given by National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr to local government units during a post-event briefing at the Lung Center of the Philippines.

“Ngayong month is 22 million (doses) ang ine-expect natin, kasama mamaya ang darating na 813,150 (doses) na Pfizer (vaccines), at yung donation ng UAE (United Arab Emirates government) na 100,000 (doses of Sinopharm),” Galvez told reporters.

“Marami tayong makukuha ngayon (na bakuna), kaya wag mag-alala (lalo na) ‘yung nasa probinsya,” he added.

As of to date, the country has received a total of 39,515,350 vaccine doses from different vaccine manufacturers.

Also present during the turnover ceremony were: DPWH Undersecretary and Task Force for Augmentation of Local/National Health Facilities Head Emil Sadain; treatment czar and Health Undersecretary, Dr. Leopoldo Vega; and Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte. END