By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Yahoo News

"Wala pa naman akong nadidinig na ospital na nagsasara. Masasabi mong talo lang 'yan, pag nagsara na ang ospital."

This was the response of a medical adviser to the pandemic task force on Wednesday to the recent claim that the Philippines "has already lost the war" against COVID-19.

However, National Task Force Against COVID-19 Special Adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa admitted during the Laging Handa Network Briefing that some Metro Manila hospitals are reaching “surge capacity” which prompting referrals to COVID-19 patients to the hospitals outside the National Capital Region (NCR).

"And all the doctors and nurses are doing heroic things, trying to take care of more patients more than they can handle. To me, yan ang heroism na dapat nating ipagsabi, hindi yung natalo na,” he said.

When asked if the government should extend its re-imposition of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to the “NCR Plus Bubble,” Hermosa said: “Iyong ECQ, siyempre ‘pag pinahaba mo ‘yan, mababawasan niya talaga iyong paghawa-hawa ng ating mga kababayan sa sakit na ito. Pero dapat kasabay ito ng public health measures kagaya ng testing, isolation at saka contact-tracing.”

Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary and Treatment Czar Leopoldo Vega agreed the healthcare system is not yet collapsing but stressed that the ECQ imposition is crucial to further ensure that all hospitals are getting resources.

"Pero kung tataas ang active or new cases natin at hindi na ma-control, we need more heightened restrictions para mapababa ang transmission rate," Vega said.

Earlier that day, Vega appealed to the public for patience as the One Hospital Command system has been bogged down by delays in the system when responding to patients’ needs.

Moreover, Vega said they already augmented hospital staff in different parts of the country with an additional 9,000 professionals in a bid to help to treat infected patients.

On the other hand, former NTF adviser Dr. Anthony Leachon said the government need not wait for the hospitals to reach the brink of closure before addressing their needs.

"Clearly, the fact that patients are dying in their homes and hospitals are turning away patients who then die in tents and parking lots is the definition of being defeated by COVID-19," he said.