Video courtesy of the Department of Health
MANILA (UPDATED) — The Department of Health on Tuesday said it is monitoring rising COVID-19 cases in Region 7, Caraga, and 8 cities in the National Capital Region even as national figures have plateaued.
“Nakakakita pa tayo ng tuloy-tuloy na pagbaba ng mga kaso natin nitong nakaraang 2 linggo. At kung makikita natin mamaya medyo nagpa-plateau o halos pareho ang dami ng mga kaso nitong mga nakaraang linggo. Ito’y kasunod ng pagtaas around mid of January,” said Dr. Alethea de Guzman, medical specialist IV of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, in a virtual briefing.
(We are seeing a continuous decline in cases in the last 2 weeks. And if we can see it is slightly plateauing or the number of cases remained the same during the past week. This is after the increase in cases mid-January.)
But, she said: “Ang NCR bagama't naka-negative na 'yung kanilang growth rate, ibig sabihin mas kaunti na 'yung nare-report nila kasi nitong nakaraang linggo, nakita natin may 8 siyudad na dumadami ang nare-report nilang kaso,” she added.
(While the growth rate of COVID-19 cases in NCR is already negative, meaning there are fewer cases being reported this past week, we are seeing an increase in reported cases from 8 cities.)
These cities are Valenzuela, Pasay, Malabon, Pasig, Makati, Navotas, Las Piñas, and Manila.
“Hindi na ito kasing laki ng pagtaas nitong nakaraang linggo ngunit nakikita pa rin natin ang pagtaas,” De Guzman said.
(This is not as high as the increase in cases during the previous week although there is still an increase.)
De Guzman said this is an improvement from last week’s trend that saw more areas under “moderate risk.
She said the continued increase in cases is still due to higher activity during the holidays.
However, she said that the health care utilization rate (HCUR) or the occupancy of hospital beds is still within the “safe zone” and remains at low risk even for areas seeing a surge in cases.
De Guzman said they are recommending localized community quarantine rather than an overall strategy change.
For Region 7, there is still a “steep rise” in cases for Cebu province overall, and the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Bohol, although hospital utilization remains safe.
“Halos pare-pareho sila na bigla 'yung pagtaas ng kaso sa tatlong siyudad na ito, at ang Bohol din nakita natin nitong nakaraang linggo dumami din ang kanilang reported cases,” she said.
(The three cities all showed a sudden increase in cases and for Bohol for the last week we also saw an increase in reported cases.)
Tuesday's 421 new cases from Region 7 is more than double NCR's 210 new cases, according to ABS-CBN News Data Analytics Head Edson Guido.
Cebu City logged 215 new cases, while 81 new cases were from Cebu province.
Lapu-Lapu City also logged 61 new cases, and Mandaue City had 59 new cases.
Guido also said the current trend in cases by date of onset of illness in Region 7 will exceed the July 2020 peak.
Meanwhile, for Caraga, the increase in COVID-19 cases are coming from all provinces in the region, except Agusan del Sur.
“Hindi kasing taas for some except for Agusan del Norte and for Butuan City, but the others, though mayroong increase hindi siya kasing steep,” De Guzman said.
(It’s not as high except for Agusan del Norte and for Butuan City but the others, though there is an increase, it’s not as steep.)
However, she highlighted that Agusan del Norte’s hospital utilization rate is already at high risk.
“It’s a priority now for the region and the province to ensure that we have additional dedicated beds para hindi ma-push to even higher or to critical risk and kanilang health care utilization rate (so that the health care utilization rate won’t be pushed to even higher or to critical risk),” she said.
De Guzman also mentioned the increase in cases in Region 10, especially in Bukidnon.
She said the percentage of those getting severely or critically ill among active cases is also lower than usual. And while the case fatality rate or the percentage of patients dying is slightly higher, for February the number of average deaths per day was only at single digits.
And while cases nationwide continue to plateau, De Guzman said the public should not be complacent and should continue to follow health protocols such as the wearing of masks and physical distancing.