DOH says Cebu’s critical care facilities in ‘warning zone’ as COVID-19 cases rise

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2020 01:10 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health on Tuesday said the utilization of critical care facilities like hospital beds in Cebu province have reached a “warning zone” following the recent spike of cases in the area.

“In Cebu as of June 21 when we analyzed the data, while only 13 percent of the 19,718 dedicated community isolation beds are occupied, 58 percent of the 1,533 hospital beds are occupied,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a media briefing.

More than half (56 percent) of intensive care unit beds are also occupied while 37 percent of mechanical ventilators are in use. This indicates the severity of COVID-19 cases in the province- a crucial metric in determining the impact of the coronavirus in the country. 

Data from DOH. Graph from ABS-CBN Data Analytics

“Hindi sila nasa critical level kasi ang critical level ay 70 percent and up. But they are in the warning zone already,” Vergeire said. 

(They are not in the critical level because critical level is 70 percent and up. But they are in the warning zone already.)

“Kaya sila napunta sa ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) nung huli. Because their critical care utilization is already in that warning zone," she said, referring to Cebu City. 

(That is why they were placed under ECQ last time. Because their critical care utilization is already in that warning zone.)

Government placed Cebu City back under ECQ on June 16 following two weeks under general quarantine as COVID-19 cases continued to spike. Talisay City, also in Cebu province, was meanwhile placed under modified enhanced community quarantine. Both quarantine levels will remain in effect until the end of the month.

Quarantine in levels in other parts of the country have, meanwhile, eased. 

In recent days, new cases from Region 7, where Cebu City is located, has exceeded that of the National Capital Region, the epicenter of the outbreak in the Philippines.

Experts have described Cebu City as a hotspot by experts.

And recent DOH data showed that in the last 2 weeks, a third of the cases in Cebu City were concentrated in just 10 villages. These are the COVID-19 clusters that the government is now monitoring.

HIGHER THAN NCR

The ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team earlier pointed out, using DOH data, that Region 7 is the only region that has a critical care utilization rate higher than 50 percent. It is much higher than the Philippine average of 34.8 percent.

Data from DOH. Graph from ABS-CBN Data Analytics

As of June 22, the ICU beds occupied in Region 7 was at 56.3 percent. The percentage is higher for Cebu province as a whole (58.7 percent) and Cebu City in particular (66.7 percent). Meanwhile, the National Capital Region had a 43.7 percent ICU bed occupancy.

The disparity is bigger when it comes to mechanical ventilator utilization. Overall, only 22 percent of the country’s ventilators are used. For NCR, the rate is slightly higher at 29.5 percent.

But for Region 7, up to 57.3 percent of mechanical ventilators is being used. Again, it is higher for Cebu province as a whole (60.3 percent) and Cebu City (64.3 percent). 

Data from DOH. Graph from ABS-CBN Data Analytics