Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III thanked the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for offering its facilities as quarantine sites during his visit to the Rizal Memorial Coliseum today. 

Secretary Duque inspected the Rizal Memorial Coliseum as it is being converted into a quarantine facility by the Department of Public Works and Highways. The PSC has also offered the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) as another quarantine facility, and is eyeing the Ninoy Aquino Stadium and the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium as additional quarantine facilities.

The Rizal Memorial Coliseum will have 120 beds and two (2) central nurse stations. It will begin receiving mild and asymptomatic COVID positive patients from Metro Manila and nearby regions by Monday, April 6.

It will be managed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police medical corps, composed initially of about three (3) doctors, five (5) to 10 nurses, and 20 medical staff. Three alternating teams will be taking a 7-day straight duty and 14 days off-duty, in compliance with DOH policies. 

All personal protective equipment (PPEs) will be provided by the DOH. The facility will offer free laundry service and food. Meralco and PLDT will also provide free electricity and free wifi, respectively.

“The Rizal Memorial Coliseum is a model for other community quarantine facilities like the Philippine International Convention Center, the World Trade Center, and the Philippine Arena in Bulacan,” Secretary Duque remarked, citing the efforts of Sec. Carlito Galvez, Chief Implementer of the National Task Force on COVID-19. Sec. Galvez was instrumental in securing the Philippine Arena from Iglesia Ni Cristo to use as a community quarantine facility.

The Secretary also visited the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), one of the COVID referral hospitals, where a 130-bed COVID Wing has been prepared with its own Emergency Room to separate them from non-COVID patients. 

The PGH COVID Wing has admitted 50 COVID-19 positive patients and 14 PUIs, according to PGH Spokesperson Dr Jonas del Rosario. It has 16 beds for ICU cases, which can expand up to 24 beds, upon capacitation. The testing facility in the UP-NIH has been approved as a subnational laboratory, which can run 130 tests a day. Furthermore, PGH Medical Research Lab is taking steps to be accredited as well.

“With more beds in the ICU, patients can receive better care and have a higher chance for recovery,” the Health Chief said.

PGH Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi recalled that the first few days of the pandemic saw PGH personnel afraid and reluctant to report for work. However, he assured them that they will be well-protected by using Levels 3 and 4 PPEs.