BACOLOD CITY – Mayor Evelio Leonardia has sought a reconsideration of the city’s Alert 4 status from Nov. 1 to 14 after it was announced by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Friday.
In a statement on Sunday, Leonardia said he sent a letter dated Oct. 29 addressed to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, chair of the IATF-EID, appealing for a downgrade to Alert Level 3, considering that coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the city have already been decreasing in the past two weeks.
Areas placed under Alert Level 4, the second-highest alert level, show high and/or increasing case counts, and with Covid-19 bed and intensive care unit (ICU) beds at a high utilization rate.
Moreover, persons in these areas below 18 years old and above 65 years old, those with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities, or other health risks, and pregnant women are not allowed to leave their homes except for obtaining essential goods and services and working in permitted industries and offices.
However, Leonardia said total bed utilization and ICU utilization rates in private and regional hospitals in the city are also on the decline, citing the Department of Health-Western Visayas (DOH-6) situational report on Oct. 28.
“The healthcare capacity utilization in all tertiary private and DOH regional hospitals in Bacolod is only at 69 percent, and only half of which is from Bacolod City while the rest are Covid-19 patients from other local government units in the province of Negros Occidental,” Leonardia told Duque.
As of Oct. 29, real-time data showed that Bacolod reported 954 active cases out of the 23,361 accumulated cases and recoveries have reached 21,660 or 92.72 percent, while Covid-19-related deaths also decreased by 55 percent from last month.
“(This) correlates to good management and treatment of Covid-19 cases. This decline in numbers is the result of our relentless effort in intensified implementation of the PDITR (Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate) strategy as well as our innovations and initiatives in ramping up our vaccination campaign,” Leonardia said.
He added that by ramping up the local vaccination program, the city expects cases to even decrease significantly in the proceeding weeks.
Data from the DOH-6 showed that Bacolod has the second highest percentage of fully vaccinated population in Western Visayas, with 42.28 percent already with complete Covid-19 vaccination and 12 percent, who are partially vaccinated.
“There is a significant indication of a continuous reduction of additional cases in the city. Given the foregoing, it is reasonable to loosen restrictions in order for our residents to resume earning activities,” Leonardia said.
Areas under Alert Level 3 are those with high and/or increasing case counts and increasing bed utilization and ICU utilization rates.
In these areas, certain establishments can operate at 30-percent indoor venue capacity only for fully vaccinated individuals and 50-percent outdoor venue capacity, provided that all employees are fully vaccinated.
Religious gatherings, dine-in and personal care services are allowed at 30-percent indoor capacity for fully vaccinated persons only and 50 percent outdoor capacity for all persons, regardless of vaccination status. (PNA)