Sunday, October 17, 2021

Central Visayas, Central Luzon flagged over rising infections, deaths


THE Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, August 13, 2021, reported that the Central Visayas and Central Luzon regions are seeing an increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases and deaths.

These two regions are among nine regions classified as high risk due to rising two-week growth rate and average daily attack rate.

The other regions are National Capital Region (NCR), Northern Mindanao, Calabarzon, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Western Visayas.

Of these nine regions, six already have high risk intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rates as of August 10, including Central Visayas (75.94 percent) and Central Luzon (78.65 percent).

The four others are Northern Mindanao (72.5 percent), Calabarzon (74.18 percent), Cagayan Valley (76.19 percent) and Western Visayas (74.32 percent).

Overall, the Philippines was declared high risk earlier in the week.

In a press conference Friday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the national two-week growth rate was 60 percent and the attack rate was 8.37 per 100,000 population in the recent two weeks from July 30 to August 12.

She also said Covid-19 deaths in Central Visayas and Central Luzon have continued to increase.

“Nationally, deaths are now showing signs of plateauing, which indicates possible increase in the following weeks. Regions 3 (Central Luzon) and 7 (Central Visayas) deaths continue to increase,” she said.

Among the nine regions flagged over their rising case growth rate and attack rate, the NCR posted the highest case growth rate of 134 percent and attack rate of 16.2 per 100,000 population in the recent two weeks.

The NCR, which has a population of more than 13 million, had 24,023 active cases as of August 12.

Central Visayas came in second in terms of the attack rate, which was computed at 11.57 per 100,000 population. Cases in the region grew by 57 percent in the recent two weeks.

Central Visayas, with a population of more than 8.0 million, is composed of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor. There were 7,876 active cases in this region as of August 12.

New Covid-19 cases also doubled in less than two weeks in Calabarzon, as indicated by a two-week growth rate of 110 percent.

The rest of the six regions posted case growth rates ranging from 2.0 percent (Western Visayas) to 91 percent (Central Luzon).

Their attack rates ranged from 7.57 (Western Visayas) to 10.92 (Northern Mindanao) per 100,000 population.

Three other regions have been classified as moderate risk. These are Soccsksargen, Zamboanga Peninsula and Bicol Region.

A total of 54 areas are now under Alert Level 4.

Vergeire said Bohol, Antique, Zamboanga del Sur and North Cotabato were escalated from Alert Level 3 while Zambales and Guimaras were escalated from Alert Level 2.

Placed under Alert Level 4 are:

  • Las Piñas, Malabon, Makati, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, San Juan, Pateros, Quezon City, Taguig, and Valenzuela in Metro Manila
  • Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Dagupan City, Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Quirino, Angeles City, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Olongapo City, Zambales, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Lucena City, Rizal, Naga City and Masbate in Luzon
  • Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, Iloilo, Iloilo City, Bohol, Cebu, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Siquijor, Ormoc City and Tacloban City in the Visayas
  • Bukidnon, Cagayan De Oro City, Camiguin, Lanao Del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Cotabato (North Cotabato), General Santos City, South Cotabato and Agusan del Sur in Mindanao

In these areas, Vergeire said LGUs should enforce granular lockdowns, continue active case finding, may use rapid antigen test in areas with Delta cases, increase hospital beds, ensure enough oxygen supplies, immediately refer severe and critical cases and ensure accessibility of PhilHealth benefits.

The DOH also reported that 39 areas are under Alert Level 3, including Aurora which was escalated from Alert Level 1, and Nueva Vizcaya, Zamboanga Sibugay, Misamis Occidental and Surigao del Sur, which were escalated from Alert Level 2.

Under Alert Level 3 are:
  • Caloocan, Mandaluyong, Manila, Parañaque, Pasig, and Pasay in Metro Manila; Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, City of Santiago, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Marinduque, Romblon, Puerto Princesa City, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon and Camarines Sur in Luzon.
  • Capiz, Mandaue City, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar (Western Samar), and Southern Leyte in the Visayas;
  • Zamboanga Sibugay, Iligan City, Misamis Occidental, Davao City, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, Sultan Kudarat and Lanao Del Sur in Mindanao

The LGUs in these areas must implement granular lockdowns, continue active case finding with the possible use of rapid antigen test in areas with Delta cases, and target to decongest hospitals and start increasing the number of hospital beds.

Health capacity issues in areas under either of these two highest alert levels must be addressed not only at the LGU level, but also at the regional and national level. (Marites Villamor-Ilano with HDT)


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