Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco T. Duque III and Treatment Czar Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega today visited the Quezon Institute (QI) Off-site Modular Hospital as it increases its hospital surge capacity for COVID-19 cases. The officials inspected the said facility and assessed how it can further strengthen the overall health system capacity in the National Capital Region.

The QI Off-site Modular Hospital is an extension of the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center and will be under the direct supervision of JRRMMC Chief Dr. Emmanuel Montaña, Jr.. The said facility has five modular sets with negative pressure rooms that can accommodate 110 patients.

According to Dr. Montaña, patients per modular unit will be monitored using a 24-hour CCTV system. There will also be medical specialists on-duty composed of infectious disease consultants, pulmonologists, cardiologists, nephrologists, pathologists, radiologists, geriatricians and internists.

The Health Secretary explained that only patients with positive RT-PCR results and classified as moderate cases will be accommodated at the QI COVID facility. Moderate category patient is defined as a clinically symptomatic patient with pneumonia findings on chest x-ray or ground glass opacities in CT Scan and does not require a ventilator.

Apart from the modular sets, the health officials also inspected the newly-constructed male and female dormitories for on-duty healthcare workers. Each dorm has 16 rooms with a kitchen, pantry and laundry room. These dormitories are built to protect the healthcare workers from any kind of exposure as they have an alternating work week schedule.

“In the midst of the pandemic and in pursuit of Universal Health Care, let us continue to strengthen and expand our health system capacities to provide better and quality services to all,” Sec. Duque said, adding that despite the nearing COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the country’s health system shall remain prepared and ready to respond to any potential surges.

Sec. Duque further emphasized that despite the health system capacity preparations for the anticipated surge, prevention remains to be the best strategy to keep healthcare utilization rates low. “While we continue to expand our hospital capacities, we need to remember that these are just our second lines of defense. Our first line of defense will always be our homes and communities, so prevention—our minimum public health standards—will always be our best bet against the spread of the disease,” he said.