Press Release
August 19, 2020

Villanueva: DOH data shows 48 percent of patients who died from COVID-19 were never admitted to hospitals

Nearly half of the persons who died from COVID-19 were never admitted to hospital or medical facilities, according to data from the Department of Health (DOH) which Senator Joel Villanueva sought clarifications on Tuesday from the agency's top official.

Of the 2,681 deaths attributed to COVID-19, some 1,286 of those patients (48 percent) were never admitted to hospitals or medical facilities, the lawmaker pointed out, citing data the DOH released on Aug. 17.

This, as about seven out of 10 active COVID-19 cases categorized as critical (73 percent) are likewise not getting any treatment at medical facilities, the lawmaker pointed out as he quizzed Health Secretary Francisco Duque III at the resumption of the Senate Committee of the Whole's inquiry into the alleged anomalies at PhilHealth.

"Mas masakit po pag tiningnan natin itong data na ito. Halos kalahati ng mga namatay, 48 percent ... ang hindi man lang na-admit sa ospital. Adequate po ba talaga ang ating mga ospital?" Villanueva asked the health secretary, who is co-chair of the inter-agency task force managing the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duque responded that the government continue to expand the country's healthcare systems 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, the official explained.

Villanueva pointed to another set of data in the DOH tally where it listed 509 of the 694 active critical cases and 113 of the 489 active severe cases as 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? Tatlo lang yung possibility. Una: Maaaring walang ospital. Pangalawa: full yung ospital. Pangatlo, natatakot magbayad at 'di nila alam na ang PhilHealth ay makakatulong sa kanila," Villaneuva asked.

"Thank you for bringing this to my attention, your honor. Medyo nakakabigat ng loob ito na hindi sila na-admit despite being severe and critical. Pwede siguro makapagbigay kami ng contact number naming para ito po ay ma-follow up," Duque responded.

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