Doctors, tired and exhausted, call for timeout—PCP

A day before Metro Manila was due to slip into a less stringent quarantine level, doctors urged the government to go the other way, saying that health workers were exhausted by the crush of COVID-19 cases that are filling up hospitals.

"Are we not going to have a timeout?" said Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), referring to a similar request the medical community made last year for two weeks under more stringent restrictions amid a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Medical front liners and their patients make do with available space in a hospital that has reached full capacity, meaning no wards or beds, for COVID-9 victims. Tired and exhausted, frontliners overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases are calling for a timeout.

"I hope the President will consider our situation as health care workers because what we are seeing is already extreme," she said.

If the government cannot provide a timeout, Limpin called for a stricter curb on the movement of people. "At the very least, maintain MECQ but the real MECQ," she said in an interview on ABS-CBN TeleRadyo, referring to a modified enhanced community quarantine.

Metro Manila was supposed to go under the less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ), the country's second-loosest lockdown level, by Sept. 8, but the Palace decided to extend the ECQ to Sept. 15 instead (see banner story for details – Editors).

Limpin disclosed that some doctors in private hospitals were calling in sick as they were overworked from a high number of COVID-19 patients.

"Our doctors are really tired. We are seeing so many cases. Our ER, ICU and all of the wards are full," she said.

Limpin said doctors were also treating non-COVID-19 cases. Some, she said, had contracted the coronavirus, aggravating the staffing shortage.

"Many doctors had to undergo quarantine, and many got infected with COVID-19," said Limpin.

She said doctors were serving long hours at the hospitals due to soaring infections. This is aside from experiencing emotional burden for not being able to accept new patients, she added.

Except for the city of Manila, the Department of Health (DOH) placed the entire National Capital Region under the highest alert level due to the increase in new cases and the high rates of hospitalizations.

Alert Level 4 is raised if more than 70 percent of hospital bed capacity is occupied, and the area is under moderate to critical risk for COVID-19.

The Philippines logged 18,012 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections to 2,121,308.

There were 161 new fatalities, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 34,498.

The DOH also reported 18,945 new recoveries, bringing the total recoveries to 1,928,173.

This left 158,637 active cases, of which 92 percent were mild, 3.4 percent were asymptomatic, 0.7 percent were critical, 1.4 percent were severe, and 2.49 percent were moderate.

Nationwide, 76 percent of ICU beds, 67 percent of isolation beds, 74 percent of ward beds, and 58 percent of ventilators, were in use.

In Metro Manila, 75 percent of ICU beds, 63 percent of isolation beds, 74 percent of ward beds, and 64 percent of ventilators, were in use.

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