MANILA — The Department of Health has identified Cebu island and parts of Eastern Visayas as new hotspots of the COVID-19 outbreak as cases of the disease continued to rise in these areas.
“Ang mga lugar kung saan tayo nakakakita ng emerging hotspots o lugar kung saan dumadami ang kaso ay ang Cebu City, Cebu Province, Ormoc City, Southern Leyte, Leyte at Samar,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing on Wednesday.
(The areas where we are seeing emerging hotspots or where the cases are increasing are Cebu City, Cebu Province, Ormoc City, Southern Leyte, Leyte and Samar.)
“Hindi pa po ganun karami ang mga kaso sa mga nasabing lugar ngunit nakikita natin na mas mabilis tumataas kumpara sa ibang lugar,” she added.
(The cases are not that many but we are seeing that they are increasing faster than other places.)
Vergeire said this is why the national government has extended assistance to these areas to curb the spread of the virus.
“Tayo’y nagpadala ng mga kagamitan (We sent equipment) to ramp up the testing capacity of Cebu province and required the strict implementation of our public health standards with the help of the local government and the national task force in these emerging hotspots,” she said.
Cebu City, now under the strictest lockdown, has long been identified as a hotspot after a spike in cases from some villages and jails back in May.
The number of cases increased again in several villages in the city. The DOH said it already sent epidemiologists there to study how the virus was able to spread.
Among all provinces, Cebu still has the most number of active cases, which increased from 3,591 on June 14 to 4,893 on June 21. This is equivalent to a 36 percent increase.
“Eight in 10 of the active cases in Cebu Province are in Cebu City, with 3,471 active cases out of the 4,431 in the province whose location were identified by DOH,” ABS-CBN IRG said.
The three provinces in Eastern Visayas are seeing a substantial spike in active COVID-19 cases, based on Department of Health data analyzed by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group (IRG).
In just 8 days - from June 14 to 21- Leyte’s active cases increased from just 71 to 165.
Active cases refer to patients who have not yet recovered or are still in the hospital or under home quarantine.
Last week, ABS-CBN News already reported about how cases in Leyte went up exponentially — from 9 active cases as of June 7 to 71 active cases as of June 14.
The increase in cases was partly attributed to the influx of people from outside the province, some through the national government’s Balik Probinsya program.
Leyte, which comprises 45 percent of the 4.78 million projected population of the Eastern Visayas region, was a pilot area for the now suspended program.
Besides Leyte, two other neighboring provinces saw a substantial increase in cases during the same period — Samar from 4 active cases to 38, and Southern Leyte from 3 active cases to 33.
The three provinces make up half of the Eastern Visayas region.
They appear significantly redder on ABS-CBN IRG’s June 21 heat map of active COVID-19 cases than on the June 14 map, indicating a marked increase of active cases in these areas within the 8-day period.
According to ABS-CBN IRG, half of the active cases in Leyte came from only two cities and one municipality: Ormoc City with 39 cases, Baybay City with 25 cases, and Alangalang town with 18 cases.
Meanwhile, more than half of all active cases in Samar as of June 21 are from the municipality of Basey. The rest are from six other areas.
In Southern Leyte, the biggest cluster of active cases are from the town of Libagon.
Also logging an increase are Negros Occidental and Benguet with 17 active cases each, Iloilo with 6 active cases, and Lanao del Sur and Misamis Oriental with 4 each.
Unfortunately, there are 6,763 other active cases in the DOH data that do not have any location information.
Meanwhile, another 1,686 active cases were identified as repatriated Filipinos.
Because of the recent increase in cases, 7 provinces are no longer coronavirus-free.
Capiz, Ifugao, Siquijor, and Zamboanga Sibugay now each have 2 active cases, while Aurora, Mountain Province, and Sorsogon have 1 active case each.
The good news is that 10 provinces logged a marked decrease in their number of active cases as more patients recovered.
- Laguna - from 312 active cases as of June 14 to 180 active cases as of June 21
- Rizal - from 331 to 249
- Zamboanga del Sur - from 102 to 23
- Cavite - from 265 to 215
- Quezon Province - from 65 to 34
- Occidental Mindoro - from 29 to 6
- Batangas - from 138 to 122
- Pampanga - from 62 to 50
- Nueva Ecija - from 30 to 19
- Albay - from 32 to 22
There were also 12 provinces that did not have any new cases in the 8-day period: Agusan del Sur, Basilan, Batanes, Camiguin, Catanduanes, Dinagat Island, Guimaras, Quirino, Sarangani, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Zamboanga del Norte.