3rd wave of COVID-19 crisis in PH as cases rise in Visayas, Mindanao? No, says DOH

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2021 02:05 PM | Updated as of May 31 2021 02:21 PM

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday denied that the Philippines is experiencing a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic even as more people in the Visayas and Mindanao have contracted the disease.

The national government is still observing the rise in cases there, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference.

"Hindi natin masasabi ngayon. When we talk about surges, it involves the national picture," she said.

(We cannot say that now. When we talk about surges, it involves the national picture.)

"Dati pa ho natin mino-monitor ang mga lugar na ito," she added, referring to several regions in the Visayas and Mindanao that have been reporting more cases in recent weeks.

(We have been monitoring these areas.)

As of May 30, there are 10,497 active COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, while Visayas has 7,352, according to data from the DOH. The agency reported a total of 53,757 active cases nationwide, as of the same date.

Swabbing efforts have been ramped up in the Visayas and Mindanao as more people show symptoms of COVID-19, Vergeire said.

Visayas is now testing 50,000 people per week, up by 4,000 from previous weeks, according to her.

Mindanao is now testing 42,000 people a week, about 13,000 more than its previous weekly tests, she said.

"Nakikita po natin 'yung pagtaas ng testing outputs na naaapektuhan ngayon ng pagtaas ng kaso," the Undersecretary said.

(We see an increase in testing outputs that may be affecting now the increase in reported cases.)

"As early as now, talagang binibigyan na ng adequate support ang mga lugar na ito so they can expand the capacity of hospitals and their testing capacity," she said.

(As early as now, we are really giving these areas adequate support so they can expand the capacity of hospitals and their testing capacity.)

The spike in cases in Visayas and Mindanao may be due to the non-observance of basic health protocols like frequent handwashing, physical distancing, and the proper wearing of face masks, Vergeire said.

So far, Metro Manila remains to be the epicenter of COVID-19 in the Philippines, where 11,405 cases are tagged as active, according to data from the DOH.

Courtesy of the Department of Health