MANILA - A health official on Friday doused concerns about the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Cebu, saying its health-care system is still at the "safe" level.
"Sobrang safe po tayo sa ngayon (We are still very safe now) but what we're saying is, although this data are reflective of what's happening here, we want to ensure also that people would not become complacent," said Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson and chief pathologist of Department of Health - Central Visayas.
She made the remark in response to a study by a group of researchers and professors that COVID-19 cases in Cebu had become "a serious concern."
"We respect their data and their concern, and we appreciate that. Pero in fairness to us here in Cebu City, malayong-malayo po tayo ngayon sa noong nangyari sa atin dito sa Mayo, Hunyo at Hulyo noong nakalipas na taon. At that time, nahirapan talaga tayo sa bed allocation," she said.
(... We are far from what happened to us in May, June and July last year. At that time, we really struggled with bed allocation.)
On Thursday, health authorities reported an additional 103 COVID-19 cases in Cebu City, bringing its tally to 12,219. The city's tally includes 1,150 active cases and 701 deaths.
Meanwhile, Cebu Province recorded 43 new coronavirus infections. Its tally stood at 7,744, of which 614 are active cases while 426 have died from the disease.
Loreche said the health care utilization rate in Cebu was still at 25.1 percent, considered at "safe" level.
As of Jan. 27, some 225 COVID-19 patients are admitted while 672 COVID-19 beds are still available.
If the health-care system reaches 85 percent of their bed occupancy, it will be considered at "critical" level while "high risk" for if its between 70 and 85 percent.
" We really believe we are able to handle this surge of cases that we have," Loreche said, attributing the surge to post-holiday.
Loreche also stressed that the increase in number of COVID-19 cases was due to aggressive testing and contact tracing.
"There's also something that the OCTA Research has forgotten na 'yong ating mga data, reflective of our active cases and newly diagnosed cases, actually represents also our testing capacity [and] the activeness of our contact tracing teams," she said.
The health official also said they were keeping close watch on possible entry of a more highly contagious variant of COVID-19, which first emerged in the United Kingdom.
She said 3 passengers who came from restricted countries underwent quarantine upon arrival. One patient has been discharged while 2 are still under isolation.
Loreche said they had sent the samples to the Philippine Genome Center last Jan. 7 but had yet to receive feedback.