Saturday, November 27, 2021

Areas with faster Covid-19 case growth face stricter quarantine measures


(UPDATED) The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is meeting Monday afternoon, May 31, 2021, to discuss the pandemic risk classifications and determine which areas may be placed under more restrictive quarantine measures in June.

Department of Health (DOH) Maria Rosario Vergeire said six regions have posted increasing growth rates for new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases out of 12 regions with positive two-week growth rates.

In a media forum Monday, Vergeire identified five of the six regions as Ilocos, Mimaropa, Caraga, Western Visayas and Central Visayas. A DOH statement later Monday corrected the list to include Ilocos, Mimaropa, Bicol, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Caraga.

The six other regions with positive growth rates are Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Soccsksargen, Davao and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Vergeire pointed out, however. that not the entire regions are seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Among these regions, Vergeire said Ilocos and Central Visayas swung from negative to positive growth rates as cases surged. A previous DOH report also showed that these two regions had the highest regional intensive care unit utilization rates.

Among the four provinces of Central Visayas, Negros Oriental and Bohol are experiencing an increase in cases. Based on the regional case bulletin for Sunday, May 30, Bohol had 135 new cases while Negros Oriental had 119.

Both provinces have active cases exceeding 1,000. Negros Oriental has 1,573 active cases while Bohol has 1,065 active cases in hospitals and isolation facilities.

Cebu Province, excluding the highly urbanized cities, has 479 active cases including 19 new cases on May 30, while Siquijor only has two, with zero new cases.

Among the highly urbanized cities in Cebu, Cebu City has the highest active cases at 536, followed by Lapu-Lapu City with 178 and Mandaue City with 176. Cebu City had 30 new infections on May 30 while Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue reported eight and six new cases, respectively.

Vergeire said the DOH studied the situation in the regions over the weekend to determine which areas will meet the parameters for escalation or de-escalation of quarantine measures for the month of June.

“Let me just remind that aside from complying with the minimum health protocols, we must also intensify detection, isolation and treatment. Local government units should intensify contact tracing,” she said.

“Those with symptoms and those exposed to the virus must be placed in isolation within 24 hours. This is the most critical measure that we can take to break transmission of Covid-19,” she added.

She also said LGUs must implement granular lockdowns in areas experiencing a surge in cases.

In a television interview earlier Monday, Vergeire said they were closely monitoring the six regions.

“Within these specific regions, there are these specific provinces that are having higher cases but not really the whole of that region,” she said.

Vergeire said health authorities in the said areas have been ordered to list their needs for the expansion of their ICU capacity.

She said they were most concerned about Mindanao because hospitals there have fewer ICU beds allocated for Covid-19 patients.

“But of course we understand that some of the hospitals would have difficulties or challenges because these are small hospitals or sometimes their resources are not enough. We are now assisting them so that we can better expand the capacity,” said Vergeire.

Just like in the National Capital Region, Vergeire said the DOH is also looking at establishing modular hospitals, and additional treatment and monitoring facilities to decongest hospitals. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo)


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