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UP professor asks gov’t to hire more health workers 

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The government should consider "urgent" increasing the number of healthcare workers in the front lines as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, according to a  University of the Philippines professor.

Prof. Ranjit Rye, who is part of the UP OCTA research team that studies the spread of COVID-19 in the country, said improving hospital capacity is not simply a matter of increasing beds and ventilators.

"Naghihirap po sila ngayon, kailangan urgent po ang response ng government na dagdagan ho 'yung mga doktor, nurses, at health workers ngayon dahil may surge po talaga dito sa NCR,"  he said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

He said the government should also ensure non-COVID patients will not be crowded out of hospitals.

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Minglanilla and Consolacion towns in Cebu province, and Zamboanga City will be under general community quarantine (GCQ) from August 1 to 15.

The rest of the Philippines will be under modified GCQ.

"'Yan po ang implikasyon ng GCQ decision na 'to: Kailangan natin tulungan 'yung mga health care workers natin. Ang hospital capacity improvement, hindi ho beds at ventilators, usapin ho 'yan ng healthcare workers... Sila ang number one nating kailangang protektahan ngayon kasi mapupuno talaga ang mga ospital natin," Rye said.

The government has an emergency hiring program for healthcare workers, but an official the number of takers has plateaued.

“Yung sa emergency hiring, 6,000 na personnel ang na-hire for hospitals so [other] hospital staff can rest. Pero nag-plateau [na ang number ng nag-aaply]. Walang masyadong takers sa slots na meron tayo, kaya pinag-uusapan namin within the Department of Health kung paano makakakuha [ng dagdag na tao],” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Monday.

She said the Department of Health (DOH) is considering partnering with universities and other institutions to hire more people.

The current national COVID-19 case total is 89,374 as of Thursday. Of this number, there are 22,327 active cases after the DOH reported a record 38,075 recoveries in one day. Nearly 2,000 patients have died.

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