The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said while the incidence of COVID-19 in the country remained at “low risk,” it is facing a challenge on non-COVID cases particularly dengue infections.
Meanwhile, the DOH logged a total of 102,619 dengue cases from January 1 to July 30, 2022, which is 131 percent higher than the figure recorded during the same period last year.
This caused serious concern for the Magsasaka party-list as dengue cases breached the 90,000- mark, with deaths at more than 300.
Acting Health Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Philippines posted an increase of 19 percent and 31 percent increase in coronavirus cases last July 2, and August 8, respectively, generally considered as low risk.
During the organizational meeting of the Senate Committee on Health chaired by Sen. Bong Go, Vergeire admitted a rise in non-COVID admissions since last February.
Vergeire said 70 percent of non-COVID beds were already occupied. She said the National Capital Region and Cordillera Administrative Region are in moderate risk classification with an average attack rate of 9.11 at 7.18 cases per 100,000 population.
She also said Region 4-A and Region 6 were nearing the threshold for moderate risk health care system capacity with more than 42 percent total utilization rate.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was also a low risk with 120 cases is, but high risk ICU utilization.
At present, she said there are five severe and critical COVID cases in the country.
Meanwhile, the national weekly confirmed cases from August 3-9 was posted at 27, 953 new cases, 0.96 percent of which active cases, 97.44 percent recovered and 1.6 percent deaths.
Vergeire also told Go’s committee that the top five areas with new cases all came from the NCR-Plus- Quezon City, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Manila.
“Nationally, cases continue to increases now averaging at 3,993 cases per day in the recent week. Note that the seven-day moving average is almost twice the cases we reported less than a month ago-at 2,258 cases per day,” Vergeire said.
According to the DOH’s national dengue data for the week, there were 44,361 cases logged from January 1 to July 30, 2021.
Cumulatively, most of the dengue cases this year or 18 percent were reported in Central Luzon with 18,664 cases, followed by Central Visayas with 10,034 and the National Capital Region (NCR) with 8,870.
A total of 23,414 dengue cases were recorded from July 3 to July 30 alone, with Central Luzon also topping the list with 5,838 cases.
This was followed by the NCR with 2,689 and Calabarzon with 2,369.
The DOH also said that nine out of 17 regions exceeded the epidemic threshold for dengue in the past four weeks. These regions were Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Cordillera Administrative Region, and NCR.
Meanwhile, Mimaropa and Western Visayas showed a “sustained increasing trend” of dengue cases over the same period.
The death toll due to dengue has now increased to 368, representing a 0.4 percent case fatality rate.
Of these deaths, 35 occurred in January, 31 in February, 38 in March, 46 in April, 64 in May, 74 in June, and 80 in July, the DOH said.
Congressman Argel Cabatbat said the upsurge of dengue cases was not ordinary compared to previous years with the changing of the seasons.
Experts have sounded the alarm over how climate change was projected to intensify the transmission of diseases from mosquito bites.
“A quick search on Google would show you articles, research and other content culled from years of study that global warming is an emerging factor in the opening up of habitat of mosquitos. These insects thrive in calamities like massive flooding or drought, and climate change has something to do with both extreme weather conditions,” Cabatbat explains.
Aside from health, climate change is also threatening food production. In the Philippines, cropping season has been affected due to more intense and frequent rains, and changing weather patterns.
To aid farmers, the Magsasaka party-list reiterated its call for the construction of more post-harvest facilities and the strengthening of crop insurance to help planters recoup losses when their produce are destroyed.