MANILA — The Department of Health on Monday said it will take up to 2 weeks before the country will see if the two-week enhanced community quarantine in the NCR Plus will result in a decrease in new COVID-19 cases.
“Kung last week tayo natapos ng ECQ (If the ECQ ended last week), give it another 10 to 14 days and we can see if really cases will decline,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.
Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal were placed under ECQ from March 29 until April 11 to curb the alarming rise in new coronavirus infections since last month. The lockdown level was downgraded a notch level starting April 12 until the end of the month.
Vergeire said equally important is the health care utilization rate or the occupancy of COVID-19 beds in hospitals.
“Ang kagandahan habang tayo ay nag-ECQ, nakagawa tayo ng mga paraan at mga hakbang para mas ma-expand ang health care system,” she said.
(What was fortunate is that while we were on ECQ, we were able to find ways to expand our health care system.)
She said they were able to add 164 intensive care unit (ICU) beds by Sunday, and an additional 3,000 isolation and COVID-19 beds in various hospitals such as the National Center for Mental Health and the Quezon Institute.
Vergeire said they were grateful to Level 1 hospitals that expressed willingness to receive mild COVID-19 cases to help decongest other hospitals.
“Looking at the 2 weeks na ECQ, sinasabi natin that while cases are still rising and the health care utilization is still not at that level na masasabi natin na safe tayo, pero nakikita natin we are already improving in our capacity and we are improving in our response per the local government,” she said.
“Hopefully, we can expect that in 10 to 14 days, we can see the decline in the cases,” she added.
(Looking at the 2 weeks under ECQ, our cases are still rising and health care utilization is still not at the safe level. But our capacity is already improving and our response through the local governments are also improving.)
On Monday, COVID-19 deaths in the country breached 15,000 while the daily tally of cases exceeded 10,000 for the 4th straight day. This as only more than 1 million Filipinos have been inoculated against the coronavirus since the vaccine rollout started last month.