Covid-19 cases rise after relaxation of quarantine: DOH

Covid-19 cases rise after relaxation of quarantine: DOH
Dr. Beverly Ho, Department of Health director for Health Promotion and Communication Service (Screenshot)

The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday reported a rising trend in new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections in some parts of the country following the shift to general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila and most provinces this June.

In an online briefing, Dr. Beverly Ho, DOH Health Promotion and Communication Service director, said that while the highest number of new cases remained in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region 7 (Central Visayas) these past months, some regions have reported an increase in the number of their cases in the past 14 days.

“Lumalaki na din po ang mga kaso na nanggagaling sa ibang mga rehiyon. Makikita natin na tumataas ang kaso ng Region 8 dito (There is a rise in the number of infections in other regions. We see a rise in Region 8 [Eastern Visayas]),” Ho said.

Over the past two weeks, she said the top five sectors with the highest number of cases were NCR with 3,641 recent cases, Central Visayas with 2,573, Calabarzon with 405, Eastern Visayas with 234, and repatriates with 198.

This, compared to the regions with the highest total cases since the pandemic began – NCR with 9,921, Central Visayas with 5,902, repatriates with 1,778, Calabarzon with 1,092, and Central Luzon with 413.

Aside from the less stringent quarantine protocols, Ho said the rising number of cases may also be attributed to the increasing daily testing output of the country – from 8,000 to 10,000 daily testing output in March to 16,000 in June – and the continued community transmission of the disease.

She cited the high community transmission in Cebu in Central Visayas, with a positivity rate of 32.8 percent (out of 644 tests per day) from June 16 to 24.

“Ano ibig sabihin nito? Sa kada 100 na nate-test, halos 33 na tao ang nagpa-positive (What does this mean? This means that for every 100 people tested, almost 33 people are positive with Covid-19),” Ho said.

In the same period, she said the NCR had a positivity rate of 7.2 percent (9,877 tests per day), while the whole country, on average, had a 6.8 percent positivity rate (15,168 tests per day).

While the new data can be alarming, Ho said the country is not helpless against the disease due to its good critical care utilization rate.

“The critical care utilization rate, or ‘yung ability ng sistema na makapag-accommodate pa ng mga pasyente, ay ayos pa tayo (the system’s ability to accommodate patients is still good),” she said.

According to the latest Covid-19 bulletin of the DOH, the country has a total bed capacity of 13,532 and 2,007 ventilators (19.49 percent currently in use) for Covid-19 patients.

Of the total bed capacity, there are 3,039 ward beds with a 39.98-percent occupancy rate; 9,198 isolation beds, 37.26 percent of which are occupied; and 1,295 beds at the intensive care units with an occupancy rate of 37.3 percent.

Ho said the public can improve its standing against the disease by following health protocols.

“Ang mas importante is we know what to do. Ayon sa pag-aaral, kung tayo ay magma-mask, it reduces our chances na mahawa by 85 percent. If we will observe physical distancing, male-lessen din ang chances na mahawa tayo by 80 percent (What’s important is we know what to do. According to studies, masks reduce transmission of the disease by 85 percent. Physical distancing, meanwhile, reduces the chances of transmission by 80 percent),” she said.— Source: Raymond Carl Dela Cruz / (PNA)

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