‘48% of COVID-19 fatalities never hospitalized’

Published by rudy Date posted on August 20, 2020

by Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star), 20 Aug 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Nearly half of the persons who died of coronavirus disease 2019 were never admitted to hospital or medical facilities, according to data from the Department of Health (DOH).

Sen. Joel Villanueva described the data as an alarming indication of how the government is managing the COVID-19 crisis.

Of the 2,681 deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, 1,286 or 48 percent of the patients were never admitted to hospitals or medical facilities, Villanueva said, referring to data the DOH released on Aug. 17.

Also disturbing is that seven of 10 active COVID-19 cases or 73 percent categorized as critical are not getting any treatment in medical facilities, he said, as he questioned Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during the resumption of the hearing conducted by the Senate committee of the whole into the alleged anomalies at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) on Tuesday.

“It pains me to look at these data. Almost half of those who died, 48 percent… have not been admitted to hospitals. Are our hospitals adequate?” the senator asked Duque during the hearing.

Duque replied the government continues to expand the country’s healthcare capacity, citing the establishment of a 250-bed intermediate facility in Quezon City for mild and asymptomatic patients.

By constructing intermediate isolation and quarantine facilities, these would cater to patients categorized as mild and asymptomatic, Duque said.

The senator cited another set of data from the DOH tally, which showed 509 of the 694 active critical cases and 113 of the 489 active severe cases were not being admitted to hospitals or medical facilities.

“I wanted to find out… what explains the fact that among active cases, there are more patients with severe and critical conditions who are not admitted than admitted?” he asked.

He raised three possibilities: there were no hospitals for the cases, the hospitals were full, or the patients had no money to pay for the medical care and did not know that PhilHealth could help them.

Duque thanked Villanueva for bringing the matter to his attention even as he admitted that he found the trend disheartening. – Cecille Suerte Felipe

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