Giving medical frontliners a break while utilization rates in COVID-19 facilities are still manageable is not yet feasible, according to Private Hospital Association (PHA) President Dr. Jaime Almora.

The statement came after Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque proposed to National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementor Carlito Galvez, Jr. to give frontliners a vacation.

Roque cited Department of Health’s (DOH) data showing that occupancy rates for COVID-19 ward beds, isolation beds, and ICU beds nationwide are now ranging from 41% to 47%. Galvez then agreed to forward the proposal to the country’s treatment czar, Dr. Leopoldo Vega.

“Upon hearing that statement from the good spokesperson, I tried to call some hospitals to find out [the situation], and apparently, the suggestion, as of the moment, is not yet feasible,” said Almora.

“Although it is true that [there is a] decreasing number of COVID cases in the hospital, the arrival of these cases are not predictable. Pabugso-bugso yung arrival nila. The personnel still have to be ready,” the PHA official continued.

“Another reason is that the number of the emergency and critical cases in the hospitals are increasing; the non-COVID critical cases are increasing; these are the cases that I call the quarantine effect. Heart attacks, strokes: they are increasing, and the personnel still need to attend to them,” he added.

“There is still this continuing shortage of manpower in the hospitals. Shortage of doctors and nurses, so there’s still a lot of work to be done by the remaining staff of the hospital,” Almora stressed.

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