THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 remains confident that the Covid-19 statistics and relevant numbers that Central Visayas currently has are still “very manageable” despite the noticeable increase in the number of reported daily additional Covid-19 cases.
This is according to Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 chief pathologist and spokesperson, in an online conversation with Jonji Gonzales, Assistant Secretary of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.
Loreche said that when talking about surges in Covid-19 cases, it is important to take into account three things: the critical care utilization, positivity rate and case fatality rate.
She said that as of Jan. 11, the region’s critical care utilization rate is at 14.5 percent.
She said of the 896 Covid beds (composed of 794 regular Covid beds and 102 intensive care unit Covid beds) allocated by private hospitals in the region, only 130 (117 regular Covid beds and 13 ICU Covid beds) are occupied.
DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas said that for critical care utilization, the threshold is at 30 percent. He said a critical care utilization rate below 30 to 50 percent can still be considered safe while beyond 30 percent is a warning.
Moreover, Loreche said, the region’s current positivity rate or the number of positive results from the number of samples tested is at 3.5 percent. Bernadas said a positivity rate of 5 to 7 percent is critical.
This positivity rate, he said, is way beyond the region’s positivity rate in May 2020 which reached 19 to 20 percent.
While the case fatality rate, or the number of those who died from the disease, is still below the critical level at 1.7 percent.
“If you compare our situation now to that of April, May and June of last year, it’s way different. Now we have beds, health care workers and enough testing capacity,” Loreche said.
Loreche had said the Covid-19 cases in the region nearly doubled since Dec. 23, 2020. The department attributed this to the people’s movement and crowding during the Misa de Gallo or dawn masses and Christmas and New Year holidays.
As of Jan. 12, the region’s remaining active cases are at 1,332.
However, Bernadas said this is far from the region’s condition in the first half of 2020.
Loreche said they believe that the region is still in the safe zone, but she said this should not lull the public for complacency. She then asked the public to maintain strict adherence to the minimum health standards.
Bernadas said the public should try to live with the virus in a sense that the public can go about their essential routines while keeping in mind and continuously observing minimum health standards and avoiding unnecessary gathering of people.
Loreche and Dr. Bryan Albert Lim, infectious disease specialist, both welcomed the decision of the Catholic church, the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, to cancel the physical novena masses with the public for the 456th Fiesta Señor amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They have done everything that they could and I think they did a good job in implementing health measures, but of course, it is in the best interest that our people are safe. That’s why for me, it is an act of humility and extraordinary compassion that they decided to cancel physical masses,” Lim said. (WBS)