PGH temporarily stops accepting walk-ins, implements other precautions due to rising COVID-19 cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 8) — The Philippine General Hospital has temporarily stopped accepting patients in its outpatient departments to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in the facility.

PGH spokesperson Jonas del Rosario on Monday said an online appointment is necessary before patients are allowed to have a face-to-face consultation with their physicians.

PGH is also halting the clinical rotations of 4th year and 5th year medical students to avoid unduly exposing them to the virus that is spreading fast.

RELATED: Hospital admissions due to COVID-19 rising

These are only some of the precautionary measures taken by the state-owned tertiary hospital after one case of the more transmissible variant first detected in South Africa was found in one of its COVID-19 patients. The hospital is also seeing a "significant increase" in new coronavirus infections, that has even affected its own staff.

This month, around 25 healthcare workers in PGH got infected with COVID-19. At least 88 medical personnel were placed on quarantine after contact tracing, majority of them from the anesthesia department so other elective procedures are postponed for the meantime.

Del Rosario said hospital admissions, including in the intensive care unit, are going up due to COVID-19 cases. The official said they are ready to allot 200 beds for COVID-19 patients if necessary.

"Our limit is 200. Probably we can (handle) a little bit more, but really, the increasing number is a red flag," he told CNN Philippines.

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute, meanwhile, is limiting the number of outpatient face-to-face consultations following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the region. It said in an advisory that patients may also be required to take a swab test before consultation subject to the discretion of the attending physician. It encouraged the use of telehealth services.

The OCTA Research Group is forecasting that Metro Manila could see a daily increase of up to 3,000 cases by end of the month.