Cities in Metro Manila will not make face masks mandatory again amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora disclosed Wednesday.
However, several government hospitals are tightening their restrictions to protect against the coronavirus, with the Philippine Heart Center announcing last night that guests for its patients would not be allowed starting today.
Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PHAPI) president Dr. Jose Rene de Grano also said the number of admission of COVID-19 cases among its members has increased in the last three days.
“For the past two or three days, the number of cases had increased.
Even the (hospital) admissions here also rose here in our private hospitals,” De Grano said.
The areas where private hospitals have an increased number of COVID-19 admission include the National Capital Region, Calabarzon, Western Visayas, and Davao Region, he said.
At the same time, PHAPI reminded the public that going to hospitals is still safe because their COVID-19 facilities are isolated and health protocols are being observed.
But Zamora, the head of the Metro Manila Council, noted that the National Capital Region remains in the low-risk category for COVID, with hospital utilization rate peged at 29%.
“So that is within the low-risk category. Our positivity rate is 25 percent, and most of the cases are mild,” Zamora, quoted by ABS-CBN News, said.
The San Juan mayor added that “some cities are reimposing mask mandates, but overall in Metro Manila, together with the DOH, we are under the low-risk category at Alert Level 1, and under that category face masks are optional.”
Zamora said the mayors did not discuss imposing mask mandates yet in their last meeting.
The mayor attributed the low positivity and hospitalization rates to the high vaccination rate in the metro. He continued to encourage the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Earlier, the Department of Health reported that the utilization rate of COVID-19 space in hospitals was around 20%. But now, PHAPI noted that rate is anywhere from 20% to 50%.
De Grano said this depends on the COVID-19 beds allotted by the hospital.
The PHAPI official also noted that majority of the COVID-19 cases were admitted to hospitals initially due to other illnesses.
“We are seeing that most of these cases were admitted to hospitals due to other diseases and later on tested positive for COVID-19,” he said. Macon Ramos-Araneta