Where did Cebu City's infections come from

doh covid

WHEN the Catholic faithful flocked to different churches for the Simbang Gabi in December 2020, most Cebuanos expected an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.

But that was not the case. Both Department of Health spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche and Emergency Operations Center deputy implementer Councilor Joel Garganera said the spike of infections was not due to Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo.


Even with the spike of cases, Garganera assured that everything is under control since systems are in place.
  1. 1. All the positive individuals were extracted from their homes on the day they tested positive.
  2. All of the infected individuals were isolated in different isolations centers.
  3. Those at home were placed on lockdown.
  4. Close contacts of positive individuals were already contact traced and swabbed.
  5. Assistance from the City Government was already endorsed to the respective barangays and affected families.
  6. The homes of infected individuals were cordoned by the barangays and monitored by the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs).

Garganera said the city's aggressive contact tracing and swabbing are key tools in containing infections and immediately stop further transmissions.

Proof of the city's effective fight against the virus is its low positivity rate. Garganera said that from October to December, the city logged a positivity rate of .5 to 1.5 percent.

Now, the positivity rate increased because there were too much movements during the holidays.

The councilor also shared the city's Covid-19 cases in the last quarter of 2020 and the first 12 days of January.

So what triggered the increase in Covid-19 cases?

Garganera said private gatherings and other forms of gatherings during the holidays triggered the spike of cases this month.

Loreche, for her part, said it is difficult to ascertain what triggered the spike but it can be a mixture of things like:
  • Shopping
  • Mall sales
  • Celebrating Christmas
  • Having a good time on beaches
  • Dining out in malls

Garganera, however, assured that even if the cases will further increase, it is not a cause for alarm, as the city has enough health care personnel and facility.

He said contact tracing is also in place for all individuals infected with the virus.

Loreche assured that amid the rising number of active cases, the health care capacity for Cebu City and Central Visayas is still good and non-critical.

The critical care utilization is reflective of the availability of beds against the allocated and utilized beds, including the health care workers who will be attending to the Covid-19 patients.

Loreche said that as of January 9, the critical care utilization is 13.1 percent.

In Central Visayas, there is a total of 895 allocated beds for Covid-19 patients from private and government hospitals.

Of the 895, 794 are regular Covid beds and 101 are for the intensive care units. As of January 9, 108 beds were utilized for Covid, 96 in the regular Covid wards and 12 in the intensive care unit.

Loreche said there are ample available beds should there be a need and this is apart from the isolation centers for the asymptomatic patients.

Covid variants

Meanwhile, Loreche clarified that the DOH can detect the different variants of Sars-CoV-2 but samples taken from travelers coming from flagged countries will have to be submitted to the Philippine Genomics Center for sequencing to identify the specific variant or mutation.

"All of them, the UK variant, Malaysian, South African variant, and a lot more variants that will come out, all of them are Sars-CoV-2. May mutation lang kaya naging variant," Loreche said.

All molecular laboratories in the region can detect Sars CoV-2, she said.

Loreche said there is a protocol that all travelers from the flagged countries will be tested and if they are positive, the sample will be brought to the Philippine Genomics Center for sequencing on the type of variant.

She said they already submitted one sample to the Philippine Genomics Centers last week and in two to four weeks, the results will be out and they will be able to identify whether it is a new variant or not. (Mildred V. Galarpe/Philip A. Cerojano)


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