Kidney Institute's COVID-19 bed capacity reaches 'danger zone'

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 14 2020 08:04 AM | Updated as of Jul 14 2020 08:21 AM

Personnel at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute triage attend to patients, March 20, 2020. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) said Tuesday its bed capacity for patients with the novel coronavirus disease had reached a "danger zone," even as cases of the respiratory disease in the country continued to spike.

About 89 percent of beds for COVID-19 patients are occupied, while the emergency room that can accommodate only 44 patients has been expanded and recently tended to 120 patients, said NKTI executive director Dr. Rose Marie Liquete.

The state-run hospital's coronavirus patients often have comorbidities like kidney problems and need dialysis, machines for which are now running almost the entire day and only get to rest during contamination, she said.

"Nasa danger zone na kami... super danger," Liquete told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(We're in the danger, super danger zone.)

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NKTI also saw a "significant increase" in the number of its personnel infected with the disease in the past 2 weeks, the hospital said in a statement on Monday.

Infected workers have to go on quarantine. Some of them may have caught the illness from their community because they had no direct contact with coronavirus patients, said Liquete.

"Sabi namin, paano tayo makaka-work out nito, makaka-manage ng pasyente kung tayo mismo e may mga sakit na?" she said.

(We've said, how can we work, manage patients if we ourselves are already sick?)

Some workers have also resigned out of fear for the safety of their families, leading to a shortage in manpower despite the hospital's recent move to hire additional nurses and medical technicians, she said.

The hospital recently closed some wards and transferred nurses to the critical care unit, she added.

The NKTI on Monday urged the public to refer coronavirus patients to other health facilities.

The hospital said its emergency room would continue to accept only renal cases and post-kidney transplant patients. Non-COVID and non-pneumonia patients may be seen at the outpatient services and admitted, said NKTI.