DESPITE the gatherings and celebrations happening this holiday season, the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) does not see an impending surge of Covid-19 cases in the early months of 2023.

However, the public is advised not to be too “confident” and asked to still wear face masks in crowded areas to avoid contracting not only the Covid-19 virus but also other diseases.

DOH 7 Medical Officer IV Eugenia Cañal said in a news forum Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022, the number of Covid-19 cases in the region during the last quarter of 2022 has been decreasing compared to the same period in 2020 and 2021.

According to Cañal, this can be attributed to the effectiveness of the vaccines in protecting the community against the threat of the virus.

“In our data, we cannot say that there will be an impending surge or what. It may be because vaccines are very effective in protecting our community,” said Cañal.

But Cañal still urged the public not to be complacent since there is still the possibility of the virus “mutating overnight” and might develop into stronger variants.

“We can choose not to wear a mask if the ventilation is good but if it is too crowded, proper use of mask should be followed to avoid other infectious diseases,” Cañal said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

As of Monday, Dec. 26, the DOH monitoring dashboard showed that there were 603 active Covid-19 cases in the region, with a total number of 196,528 recorded cases.

There are 240 active cases in the entire Cebu Province, while the highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu have a combined number of 247 active cases.

With the intermittent weather being experienced in Cebu, Cañal said the common flu and other influenza-like illnesses are also being monitored by the DOH.

The Department is also giving free annual flu vaccines, prioritizing the elderly who are more susceptible to this kind of disease, she added.

Cañal also reminded the public to observe moderation in their food and alcohol consumption, especially since there are a lot of parties and gatherings happening at this time of year.

During this season, there are a lot of people being admitted to the hospital due to stroke and high blood pressure triggered by unhealthy eating, she said.