THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 sees no need for Cebu to be placed under lockdown.
Despite the recent rise in the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in Metro Cebu and Cebu Province, the situation is under control, said Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson.
She said contact tracing continues, while the critical care utilization rate of hospitals remains below the 60 percent threshold, adding that there are enough isolation facilities to house asymptomatic patients or patients with mild symptoms.
The DOH 7 also agreed with the statement of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia that another lockdown would only further harm the economy
Suggestions to place Cebu under lockdown after mutations were detected in samples sent to the Philippine Genome Center for genetic biosurveillance drew the ire of Garcia, who said she would never again accept lockdown.
She said this would only disrupt the economy to the detriment of the poor.
Meanwhile, the DOH 7 will recommend to local government units (LGUs) to increase the visibility of persons in authority such as the police and military so the public will comply with health protocols.
Loreche said LGUs should continue to remind the public about the threat of infection and penalize quarantine violators by letting them render community service.
The former will raise awareness, while the latter will force the public to comply with imposed health standards, she said.
“I believe people will need to be disciplined. People need to be aware that they must cooperate with health authorities and they need to be careful. They must protect themselves against infection so they won’t bring the disease back to their homes and infect a member of the family who may be vulnerable to the disease,” Loreche said in Cebuano.
As of Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, the DOH reported 239 deaths from Covid-19, bringing the pandemic death toll in the Philippines past 12,000 and the case fatality rate (CFR) back to the July 31, 2020 level.
Saturday’s death toll was the highest in a single day since the 259 reported on Sept. 14, more than five months ago.
DOH officials, however, have explained that the deaths reported in a single day did not necessarily occur on that day due to delayed reporting or backlogs in the verification process.
The cumulative death toll since February 2020 went up to 12,068, or 2.16 percent of the cumulative case load in the country. The last time the CFR reached 2.16 percent was on July 31, based on the DOH case bulletins.
The DOH also reported on Saturday 2,240 new cases of infection, the highest since the 2,245 on Jan. 27, 2021.
These brought the total caseload in the Philippines to 559,288, or almost 560,000.
There were 504 new recoveries, less than a fourth of the 2,230 new infections. The total recoveries increased to 513,120.
There remained 34,100 active cases in isolation facilities and hospitals, or 6.1 percent of the total case count.
The positivity rate in the past 24 hours until noon of Feb. 19 was high at 6.8 percent as 1,652 out of 24,165 tests for Sars-CoV-2 yielded positive results. (KFD, MVI with HDT / SunStar Philippines)