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MANILA – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said it will continue to construct isolation centers and modular hospitals until “buffer” medical facilities are met as the country continues to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“At tuloy-tuloy naman ang pagtatayo natin ng centers and definitely hindi tayo titigil until magkaroon tayo ng buffer sa ating (We continue to build centers and definitely we will not stop until we have a buffer on our) medical facilities,” DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said during the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) meeting presided over by President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night.

Villar reported that there are some 660 modular facilities with over 24,000 beds that are now functioning nationwide.

He said 603 of these facilities are being used for isolation with 23,046 beds and 10 as modular hospitals with 239 beds.

“At present, there are 816 facilities for 27,280 beds in the pipeline,” he said.

He said the 10 modular facilities are fully equipped for Covid-19 patients.

“There is negative pressure, nurse facilities such as nurse call button, antibacterial cladding. They also have their own oxygen supply for the patients with middle to severe cases,” he added.

He said the DPWH also constructed 49 off-site dormitories with 1,228 beds for front-liners near the modular hospitals.

“The facilities are also fully equipped for our front-liners. They have a lounge area with TV, Wi-Fi, and computer. They have their own kitchen and laundry facilities,” Villar said. “Our doctors from provinces, they can stay in these facilities and also for doctors or nurses who are working overtime, they can stay here.”

Villar noted that the occupancy rate in the quarantine facilities all over the country is now declining.

“Our occupancy rate in our quarantine facilities nationwide is 21 percent. The rate in NCR (National Capital Region) is high at 50.97 percent. But what is good is the trend on occupancy rate is reducing, last month it was at 60 percent. Now, it’s 50 percent,” he said. (PNA)