Areas of COVID concern

Areas of COVID concern

Photo courtesy by IMF

Health authorities monitoring the behavior of the coronavirus 2019 identified this week Davao City and other cities in Mindanao as areas of concern due to the rise in COVID-19 cases there.

The other cities include Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Koronadal and Cotabato.

According to OCTA Research Group, these Mindanao cities would surpass Quezon City with the highest number of new cases before next week.

OCTA said Davao City has had a 54 percent rise in infections over the past week or from 134 cases to 206 cases for the period May 31 to June 6.

The national government last week placed Davao under modified enhanced community quarantine from June 5 to 20 to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Koronadal’s cases nearly doubled from 28 to 56 over the past week, while Cotabato City posted a 62 percent week-on-week increase in infections.

Outside Mindanao, the areas of concern include the cities of Bacolod, Iloilo, Dumaguete and Tuguegarao.

Healthcare utilization rates also remained high in the provinces of Iloilo, Misamis Oriental and Cagayan, OCTA said.

The number of new cases in the NCR Plus area – Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite – resumed a downward trajectory following a week of “unstable trends.”

The reproduction number in the NCR from May 31 to June 6 was 0.74, while the one-week growth rate was -11 percent with a positivity rate of 9 percent.

The concern in Davao rose after City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio said the city’s temporary treatment and monitoring facilities had reached full capacity.

In a radio interview, Duterte said the city’s TTMF (temporary treatment and monitoring facilities) had 2,027-bed capacity where 1,466 of which were already being used by coronavirus disease 2019 patients in isolation while the rest were utilized for all other cases which require quarantine.

Duterte said this was also the reason why there were some delays in picking up other COVID-19 positive patients.

Carpio also cited that the modified enhanced community quarantine classification was requested by the city due to the surge in cases and the increase in occupancy rate of the TTMFs and the hospitals.

“The MECQ is the product of the discussion of the Davao City COVID-19 Task Force and those who have witnessed the occupancy rates of our TTMFs and hospitals. We requested it because we avoid congesting our hospitals and if that happens, many will die because they can no longer acquire the exact medical care needed both for COVID and non-COVID cases. So the Dabawenyos should understand that we are all doing this so that we will not overwhelm our health care system,” she added.

The city is under MECQ until June 20.

Good news that the Department of Health will be sending additional medicine, personal protective equipment, and more funds to hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots in Mindanao where COVID infections continue to surge.

Aside from this, the DOH is also trying to check if there is a need to deploy health workers from Metro Manila to several areas in Mindanao, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

In terms of the speed of the virus’ spread, Mindanao has outpaced the National Capital Region, the epicenter of the virus, according to the DOH.

Occupancy rate in Metro Manila’s intensive care units remains at 51 percent, while isolation beds in NCR hospitals are 40 percent full, according to data from the national government.

Nationwide, ICU beds are 58 percent occupied, while isolation beds are 48 percent full.

The DOH said 25 percent of COVID-19 cases in the country were from Mindanao, 20 percent from Visayas, 13 percent from Metro Manila, and 40 percent from the rest of Luzon.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health is studying if there is a need to deploy Metro Manila health workers to other regions where there is a surge in the number of COVID-19 infections.

Vergeire, during a virtual press briefing on Monday, said hospitals in Metro Manila are still under moderate risk level.

Vergeire said, so far, the DOH has sent medical supplies, protective gears, and medicines to hospitals outside NCR that need assistance.

At the same time, we should listen to what the Department of Health has reiterated to the public that parties are still prohibited as these can be superspreader events which will result in more COVID-19 transmissions.

“We appeal to the local government units and to the public that gatherings such as parties are prohibited as these may be considered as super spreader events,” Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing.

“We urge the public to stay home and go out only when needed to prevent the transmission of COVID-19,” Vergeire said. (AI/MTVN)

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