AMID the continuous increase in the number of dengue cases in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) is strongly urging local government units to set up express lanes in their hospitals.

In a phone interview, DOH-Emerging and Re-Emerging Diseases Unit Manager Lyndon Lee Suy advised local hospitals to replicate the putting up of express lanes in DOH-run hospitals.

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“We encourage them to set up express lanes para ma-accommodate yung mga suspected cases of dengue nationwide,” said Lee Suy.

Back in 2006, then DOH chief Francisco Duque ordered the establishment of dengue express lanes for faster case management and treatment in all the 72 DOH-run hospitals.

On Tuesday, the health department said there are 54,659 cases recorded in hospitals in the Philippines.

The figure is 74.9 percent higher compared to the same time period last year, which was only at 31,248.

Clustering of cases can also be found in some 55 provinces as well as in 11 cities in the National Capital Region.

The clustering of cases in Metro Manila includes Caloocan, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Quezon, and Valenzuela.

On the other hand, provinces with clustered cases are La Union, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, Zambales, Tarlac, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, Cavite, Quezon, Mindoro Oriental, Marinduque, Palawan, Romblon, Camarines Sur, Albay, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Ifugao and Benguet, including Baguio City.

Also with clustered cases in the Visayas are the provinces of Aklan, Iloilo, Guimaras, Capiz, Negros Occidental, Antique, Negros Oriental, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Eastern Samar, Samar and Southern Leyte.

In Mindanao, clustering of cases were found in Zamboanga del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, South COtabato, General Santos City, Sultan Kudarat, Saranggani, Maguindanao, Basilan, Agusan del Sur and Surigao City.

For his part, DOH Assistant Secretary Elmer Punzalan allayed fears of possible hospital bed shortage for dengue cases.

He said there are contingency measures that are already set-up in a bid to thwart possible problems that might crop up in the event of a dengue outbreak.

“Kayang-kaya naman natin i-handle yan. (If there are bed shortages), we could convert other wards to become ward for dengue cases,” said Punzalan in a separate interview. (AMN/Sunnex)