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account_balanceMetro News account_circleAmihan Reyes chat_bubble_outline0 Comments

The Department of Health (DOH) gave assurance that there are still available hospital beds for COVID-19 patients and those with non-COVID ailments.

“There are still unoccupied beds in hospitals, with the total bed occupancy at 50 percent accounting for both COVID and non-COVID beds,” it reported yesterday.

However, with the current number of hospital beds, the DOH is working to bring mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients to temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMFs) and not in hospitals even when its data showed that, as of July 26, the different TTMF nationwide are already in the “warning zone” with a 58.1-percent bed occupancy rate.

According to DOH, COVID-19 patients have already occupied 1,525 beds out of the 2,623 total bed capacity of the 14 TTMF in the country. Five of the 14 facilities are categorized under “danger zone” with over 70 percent occupancy. Seven mega TTMFs reached the “warning zone” level, having 30 to 70 percent occupancy rate.

The DOH is also pushing for the passage of bills that would establish the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (PH CDC). This would reportedly help ensure that the Philippine health system is well-prepared to forecast, prevent, monitor and control emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases and threats.

Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has warned the public to be wary of conmen posing as contact tracers and extorting money for supposed testing kits amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

DILG spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said they have received reports about individuals posing as contact tracers and scamming the public for supposed testing kits.

“We ask the public to be vigilant. If it involves money, it’s a scam,” he said partly in Filipino.

The scammers reportedly call on people to tell them they have been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 patient. They would then advise the individual to undergo quarantine, insist on COVID testing within 72 hours and pay for test kits that will supposedly be delivered to their address.

Some scammers, Malaya added, even threaten individuals of penalties if they do not undergo the COVID test.

He advised the public to immediately report such incident to the nearest police station, stressing that legitimate contact tracers would never ask for money.

The DILG said over 69,000 contact tracers have been deployed nationwide amid the pandemic. The government is looking to hire 50,000 more contact tracers in the next few weeks, with barangays directed to establish their own community tracing teams.

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