Philippine General Hospital to run out of protective gear in two weeks due to COVID-19 demand

Philippine General Hospital. Photo: ABS-CBN News
Philippine General Hospital. Photo: ABS-CBN News

The Philippine General Hospital (PGH), one of a handful of medical facilities designated by the government as COVID-19 treatment centers, expects to run out of protective equipment in two weeks, its spokesman said today.

PGH spokesperson Dr. Jonas del Rosario told radio station DZMM that their supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), the gear worn by health workers to prevent getting infected, will depend on the number of COVID-19 patients sent to their hospital. If their staff need to use 500 PPEs a day, their supply will hold out for two weeks. Should rising cases require staff to use up to 1,000 PPEs a day, the supply will last for only seven days.

Read: Salute! Over 100 interns at Philippine public hospital stay on duty despite being told to go home

“It depends on the demand, how many patients we have. As the number of patients increases, there will be more PPEs to be used because there will be more people to take care of,” del Rosario said in English and Filipino.

“It’s pretty fluid. We still need PPEs. There were people who have donated, and we are also looking for a supplier. One of the toughest things to do is to look for a stable supplier because everyone is looking [for PPEs].”

With countries battling COVID-19 the world over, the single-use PPEs have become scarce. The shortage prompted the World Health Organization to urge companies early this month to increase the volume of gear manufactured by 40 percent to meet global demand.

Del Rosario said they do not want to reuse PPEs to protect the PGH’s staff.

“We do not want to compromise the safety of our people so we haven’t explored sterilizing [PPEs]. After we use them, they cannot be reused and have to be thrown away,” he said.

The Department of Health has sent some PPEs to the hospital, and promised it will continue to provide more due to PGH’s status as a COVID-19 referral hospital. At present, the PGH has 23 COVID-19 patients, and more than 50 who have been identified as possible carriers, or persons under investigation (PUIs).

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Philippines, with 1,546 cases recorded as of yesterday, 78 of whom have died, and 42 of whom have recovered.


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