MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday forecast a “sharp spike” in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections that might overwhelm the country’s health system capacity if the trend of rising cases continues and is not mitigated.
Trends during the recent week show a slowing down of the previous improvement in the epidemic curve, the DOH said in a statement.
“There has been a continuous growth of cases in Metro Manila, signaling the start of a surge. Nine cities are now at moderate risk compared to last month when all cities were at low risk. The average daily attack rate in all NCR (National Capital Region) cities is also higher than the national average,” the statement read.
The increase in the number of cases is also observed in Regions 1(Ilocos), 2 (Cagayan Valley), and the Cordillera Administrative Region.
“If this trend continues and is not mitigated, it will lead to a sharp spike of cases that might overwhelm our health system capacity, similar to the peak we experienced last August in the NCR. The occurrence of another surge will no longer be a matter of ‘if’ but of ‘when and by how much’,” the DOH said.
As the pandemic hangs over the Christmas season, Filipinos are reminded to continue to adhere to the minimum public health standards to prevent a possible post-holiday surge.
“We, as a nation, have come a long way in our Covid-19 response. But the virus is still here and we should remain cautious and vigilant. As we celebrate this holiday season, let us put prime importance on our safety and the safety of everyone around us. Let us not squander our gains in this pandemic response,” the DOH said.
As experienced in previous months, a spike in cases might mean extensive lockdowns and how it affected families, healthcare workers, small businesses, and large enterprises alike, and how it paralyzed the economy.
“We do not want that to happen again. Ang laban pong ito ay hindi kakayanin ng gobyerno at ng sektor ng kalusugan lamang. Kailangan po namin ang kooperasyon ng bawat mamamayan. In our own ways, we can stop this surge from happening (The government and the health sector cannot fight this alone. We need everyone’s cooperation),” the DOH said.
Even when the reproduction number had been reduced and a lower critical care utilization rate had been maintained, the people cannot be complacent, the DOH said.
“From our peak in August, when our health system was almost overwhelmed, consuming almost 80 percent of our critical care capacity, we have managed to reduce the reproduction number to around 1.0 from a starting reproduction number of 3.27 and have maintained a lower critical care utilization rate even in highly-urbanized cities,” it said.
The health department continuously reminds the public to observe the proper washing of hands, wearing of masks, wearing of face shields, and physical distancing of at least one meter from other people.
The local government units are also urged to strictly enforce these health protocols complemented with active case finding and immediate quarantine or isolation of close contacts and confirmed cases.
“Sa darating na ka-Paskuhan, huwag nating hayaang maging bunsod ng pagkakahawaan ang ating pampamilyang selebrasyon. Munting paraan lamang po ito ngunit malaki ang maitutulong sa pagpigil sa paglaganap ng (This Christmas season, let’s not allow our family celebrations to be the cause of further infections. This is just a small way that could help prevent the spread of) Covid-19,” the DOH said.
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the DOH reported the country’s overall tally of Covid-19 cases has reached 452,988; recoveries, 419,282; and deaths, 8,833. (PNA)