With just more than a week of preparation, the University of the Philippines Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) has formally opened its doors as a COVID-19 referral hospital on March 30, 2020. The opening jibed with the launch of the UP-PGH COVID-19 Bayanihan Na! Operations Center on the same day. The Center will entertain COVID-19-related inquiries and donations.
PGH Director Gerardo Legaspi stated during the launch that an initial 130 beds were allotted for confirmed COVID-19 patients. With the help of private and government organizations, six wards were redesigned within one week for the needs of the patients. He thanked D.M. Consunji Inc. and Architect Dan Lichauco for retrofitting two wards despite the hospital’s tight deadline.
Private and government sectors have given financial and material support, such as PPEs and other supplies needed for the wards. He lauded St. Luke's Hospital for its donation and transport of 48 electronic beds to PGH. These beds, which are now distributed in the wards, will help ease the burden of health workers in manually controlling the beds.
PGH will also implement a three week rotation schedule for volunteers as a precaution and to lessen their job's psychological effects on them.
Director Legaspi said that help continues to pour in for PGH. Mr. Ed Cabangon offered all 200 beds of the City State Tower Hotel along Mabini Street for the health workers' accommodation. Other hotels around the vicinity also donated rooms for the hospital’s other personnel assigned to the wards. Other private groups are providing food for the frontliners, the allocation of which is being organized by the PGH Dietary.
The PGH Director mentioned that arrangements have been made with the City of Manila to set up a 47-bed quarantine facility in Delpan Street that will provide services to PUIs that PGH will no longer accept.
He said PGH will reciprocate all the support the hospital is receiving with its best level of care. Dr. Legaspi asked the public to also give PGH time to organize the right deployment system for testing so that patients that were thought to be positive can be discharged as well as to slow down the spread of the virus.
Even as a COVID-19 referral center, Dr. Legaspi assured everyone that PGH will continue providing essential services for confined and outpatient non-COVID-19 patients.
He admitted that the employees, staff, doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, and the janitorial and security services of PGH all felt a sense of dread as the day has come for PGH to fulfill its promise. Despite their fears, the Director said they are ready to continue this leadership role in serving the country.
He stressed during the launch that it will not be easy to run the hospital, but with the help of the government, private sectors, and the community, PGH will be able to fulfill its mandate of providing high quality health service to the Filipinos in this time of COVID crisis. Anne Marie Alto