The Department of Health (DoH) urged hospitals to make more beds available for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients as the number of infections continued to swell.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. TMT File Photo

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said private hospitals must boost their Covid-19 capacity up to 30 percent, and government hospitals by 50 percent, as mandated by the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

During a media briefing on Monday, Vergeire admitted that one problem could be hiring additional health workers once more hospital beds become available for Covid cases.

The problem was especially critical in the National Capital Region or Metro Manila, she said.

A hospital’s Covid-19 utilization percentage will depend on how many beds it allocates.

Vergeire said hospitals must expand their Covid capacity once a surge is declared. The Philippine General Hospital expanded its capacity to 70 percent during the first Covid surge in July and August.

The hitch is expanding Covid capacity could affect other procedures, such as non-elective and non-urgent services for non-Covid patients, Vergeire said.

She gave assurances that the One Hospital Command, which acts as a gateway for patients to be transferred to hospitals with available bed capacity, was doing its job and the only problem is that the public was not fully aware of its service.

“Sa tingin ko, ang problema would be the gap in information kung saan pwedeng tumawag, paano sila tatawag at kung ano ‘yung proseso, we just need to give more information to the public (I think the problem is there is an information gap…where they can call, how can they call and what is the process... We just need to give the public more information,” Vergeire said.