DOH monitoring emerging hotspots in Mindanao as COVID-19 cases rise

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 30 2020 02:40 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health on Tuesday said it is closely monitoring several areas in Mindanao now considered as COVID-19 hotspots.

“Doon sa pinaka-basic na definition ng hotspot, kahit isang kaso lang ang lumabas in a place where there is no previously identified confirmed cases, hotspot ka na,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a media briefing Tuesday morning.

(Our basic definition of a hotspot is, if a place, where there is no previously identified confirmed cases, has reported even just a single case, it can be considered a hotspot already.)

“Pwede i-consider na hotspot: meron sya dati na kaso, pero nadagdagan s'ya by this number and yung number na nadagdag is significant. Kaya, hotspot for us.”

(A place can also be considered a hotspot those with existing cases that had a significant number of additional cases. That’s a hotspot for us.)

Vergeire said that in Mindanao, "there are emerging hotspots.”

These are Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Occidential for Region X; Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental for Region XI; South Cotabato ang Sultan Kudarat for Region XII; and Maguindanao within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“Ito ang emerging hotspots in Mindanao na binabantayan din naman ng ating mga surveillance units sa ngayon, dahil nga biglang meron tayong mga kaso,” she explained.

(These are the emerging hotspots in Mindanao that are being monitored by our surveillance units now because suddenly, there are new cases.)

Asked what could be the reason for the recent increase in cases, Vergeire said it is possible that the virus is spread by people who came from areas with sustained community transmission. She said it is one of the possibilities they will look into.


Based on DOH data analyzed by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group (IRG), there are 11 provinces in the whole country that are no longer COVID-free after recording 1 to 4 cases from June 14 to June 28.

These are Zamboanga del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Sarangani and Basilan from Mindanao; Ifugao, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Mountain Province from Luzon; and, Capiz and Guimaras from Visayas. 


But more troubling are the areas that saw a large increase in active cases in the last 2 weeks.

Active cases are patients who have not yet recovered or died and are still in the hospital or are undergoing home quarantine. 

“From June 14-28, the number of active COVID-19 cases ballooned in 11 provinces, growing double to as much as 20 times, DOH data show,” ABS-CBN IRG said in its report.

Four of these provinces are in Mindanao:

Agusan del Norte: from 4 active cases on June 14, to 38 on June 28 (850% increase)
Lanao del Sur: from 7 to 26 (271% increase)
Surigao del Norte: from 1 to 23 (2,200% increase)
Compostela Valley/Davao de Oro: from 1 to 13 (1,200% increase)

Six are from Visayas:

Leyte: from 71 active cases on June 14, to 189 on June 28 (166%
Negros Occidental: from 19 to 78 (311% increase)
Southern Leyte: from 3 to 45 (1,400% increase)
Samar: from 4 to 46 (1,050% increase)
Bohol: from 6 to 34 (467% increase)
Iloilo: from 14 to 40 (186% increase)

And only one from Luzon:

Palawan: from 1 active cases to 13 active cases (1,200% increase)

Two weeks ago, Lanao del Sur asked for help from the national government as local cases there increased.

Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Bohol, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Lanao del Norte appear especially “redder” in the ABS-CBN IRG’s heat map for COVID-19 cases seen below:



Also showing significant increase in active cases are:

Davao del Norte: from 1 active case on June 14 to 10 active cases on June 28
(900% increase)
Surigao del Sur: from 2 to 10 (400% increase)
Misamis Oriental: from 7 to 15 (114% increase)
Kalinga: from 1 to 7 (600% increase)
Lanao del Norte: from 3 to 9 (200% increase)
Misamis Occidental: from 4 to 9 (125% increase)

However, among all provinces in the country, Cebu still tops the list for most number of active cases in the last 2 weeks.

From June 14 to June 28, the number of active cases in Cebu increased by 60% from 3,591 to 5,752.

“Seven in 10 of the 5,435 active cases in Cebu Province with identified location are in Cebu City, with 3,892 active cases,” ABS-CBN IRG said.

Unfortunately, DOH data does not have the location information of 3 in 10 active cases, or a total of 7,808 active cases. The remaining 1,878 are repatriated Filipinos.


Despite the rise in cases in Mindanao and other parts of the country, there were also 16 provinces that showed a decrease in active cases last week.

Eight of these showed significant decreases: 

Zamboanga del Sur: from 102 active cases as of June 14 to 12 as of June 28 (88% decrease)
Laguna: from 312 to 232 (26% decrease)
Quezon Province: from 65 to 30 (54% decrease)
Davao del Sur: from 107 to 77 (28% decrease)
Occidental Mindoro: from 29 to 6 (79% decrease)
Bataan: from 62 to 46 (26% decrease)
Albay: from 32 to 20 (38% decrease)
Rizal: from 331 to 319 (4% decrease)

Eight provinces maintained zero COVID-19 cases in the said 15-day period: Aurora, Batanes, Camiguin, Dinagat Island, Quirino, Siquijor, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.