The Department of Health (DOH) is finding ways to help hospitals in Cebu province as several of these are reaching “critical level” amid the spike in COVID-19 cases there.
“Cebu reached their critical level already... last week. That is why we are monitoring them and giving them support,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a Thursday morning briefing.
Based on the DOH COVID-19 tracker website, bed occupancy in Cebu province has already reached 75.1 percent as of June 30.
Of the 60 facilities in the province, 19 are already in the danger zone or critical level and nine are in the warning zone.
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Vergeire said the hospitals there have reached more than 80 percent occupancy in terms of isolation beds and intensive care units.
“They were able to bring down the numbers but it’s still in the critical level,” Vergeire said in Filipino.
More than a week ago, Vergeire said COVID-19 hospital facilities in Cebu were already in the “warning zone.” She said critical level means facilities are at least 70 percent occupied.
Cebu province and Cebu City are among the country’s emerging COVID-19 hotspots with many new cases recorded in these areas.
“So we had to enforce the community quarantine that was most strict so their health system could take a rest …and they can prepare in case the surge of cases continues,” Vergeire said.
Cebu City was placed back under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), a strict lockdown level, on June 16 after two weeks of general community quarantine (GCQ) because of the continued rise in cases from the area.
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It is the only city under such a quarantine level, with the rest of the country under more relaxed restrictions.
The Department of Health (DOH) reported only 294 additional COVID-19 cases on Thursday because of a change in the data process.
This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country to 38,805.
The DOH also reported 235 new recovered patients, or a total of 10,673 recoveries.
There were also four new COVID-related deaths, bringing total fatalities to 1,274.
The DOH attributed the relatively fewer new cases recorded to a change in the “extraction time” or the time at which the agency’s Epidemiology Bureau (EB) extracts the testing data from their system.
“From 24 hours, the data we have now is only worth 19 hours because we changed our process,” Vergeire said in a televised briefing.
Vergeire said the temporary adjustment will give the epidemiology bureau more time to analyze the data.
“We are hoping that the data we will be giving will be more substantial and timely in the coming days,” Vergeire said.
Thursday’s fresh cases were based on the daily accomplishment reports submitted by only 51 out of 72 current operational (testing) labs.”
Of the additional cases, 52 are “fresh cases” and 242 are “late cases.”
Fresh cases refer to those whose test results were released within the last three days, while late cases are those whose results were released four days ago or earlier.
Of the fresh cases, 10 were from the National Capital Region (NCR), 17 were identified as repatriated Filipinos, and 25 were tagged as “others.”
Of the late cases, 50 were from NCR, 164 were tagged as “others”, and 28 are repatriates.
Despite the surge in new cases, Cebu Mayor Edgardo Labella on Thursday expressed optimism that the city government can reach the “maximum ideal” of 3,000 COVID-19 tests per day.
Through the commitment of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to bring more kits here, Labella said they can achieve the ideal number of tests per day, which will enable them to see the concentration of the coronavirus in the city.
The city government “has also organized 18 contact tracing teams to help with aggressive containment measures against the spread of the virus,” Labella said in a statement.
He thanked the Department of Health (DOH) for helping the city in acquiring more testing kits as promised by the IATF.
During Wednesday’s IATF meeting in Mandaue City, Labella told Cabinet secretaries that they have started training contact tracers last Tuesday.
The Department of Health (DOH)-Eastern Visayas reported a total of 321 recoveries out of the 547 cases of COVID-19 in the region, as of Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
In Tacloban City alone, 23 out of 53 COVID-19 cases have been discharged from the hospital after they recovered from the disease.
Tacloban City Health Office also said that out of 958 returning Tacloban residents, 431 were cleared and two recovered, as of July 1.
In Tarangnan, Samar, a total of 27 recovered COVID-19 cases are already being reintegrated into the community while seven other cases are in a recovery facility.
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