Visayas, Mindanao 'showing faster increase' in new COVID-19 cases: DOH

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 11 2021 12:37 PM

A policeman mans a checkpoint along a road in Cebu City, central Philippines on June 24, 2020, after the government tightened its enhanced community quarantine restrictions amidst rising cases of COVID-19 infections in the city. Alex Badayos, AFP/File

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said Visayas and Mindanao have been "showing faster increase" in the number of new COVID-19 cases.

As of June 8, Mindanao logged 13,425 active COVID-19 cases, while Visayas recorded 9,725 new coronavirus patients, according to data from the DOH.

"Ipinag-utos na sa mga pampublikong ospital na bisitahin at pag aralan ulit ang kanilang COVID-19 surge plans," Health Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama said in an online press conference.

(Hospitals have been told to revisit their COVID-19 surge plans.)

Some 4,000 health workers have been deployed to hospitals in Visayas and Mindanao as the DOH ordered health facilities to increase up to 50 percent their dedicated beds for COVID-19 patients, he said.

The transmission of the virus in these regions usually happen in workplaces, and not in residential communities, Health spokesperson and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

"Clustering sa workplace ang na-identify natin sa kanila kaya biglang tumaas ang kaso. Dito sa NCR (National Capital Region), it's coming from the communities," she said.

(The clustering in workplaces has been identified as the reason behind the surge of cases. In the NCR, it's coming from communities.)

The presence of foreign variants - which make the virus more transmissible - is also worsening the spread of the virus in Visayas and Mindanao, she said.

"We have already detected 4 types of variants in different regions in the country," Vergeire said.

"These variants increases the transmissibility of the virus. Hindi lang dahil sa hindi sila nag-comply sa protocols (It's not just because they are not complying with the protocols)," she said.

At least 210,000 Pfizer vaccines have been shipped to Davao City, where 19,654 people are currently battling the disease, Dumama said.

"Ang sabi po nila mayroon din silang ibababa sa Cebu... They are hoping na may maidadagdag pa sila," he said.

(They said they will also deliver some to Cebu... They are hoping to increase the shipment.)

While a bulk of COVID-19 patients are in Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown should not be considered as the virus' new epicenter in the Philippines, the DOH spokesperson said.

"You cannot compare a city with a region," she said, referring to NCR, the current epicenter of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

Davao City contributes to 6-7 percent of COVID-19 cases in the country, while Metro Manila - which is composed of 16 cities - accounts for 10-12 percent, according to data from the DOH.

"Mahirap i-compare kasi iba ang setting nila doon, iba ang resources nila doon," she said.

(It's hard to compare because they have a different setting there, they have different resources there.)

Aside from the number of cases, the DOH also considers the healthcare utilization rate and the response of local government units in an area before deeming it to be an epicenter of the virus, she said.

DOH earlier said local COVID-19 transmission in Northern Mindanao is already at 91 percent.

Last week, Davao City was placed under the second highest community quarantine restriction, while General Santos was put under general community quarantine to curb the spread of the disease in these areas.

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