Severe, critical COVID cases increasing; more than half not fully vaccinated - DOH

Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2022 09:20 PM

Department of Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire led the launch of the PinasLakas Vaccination Program at the Rizal High School (RHS) in Pasig City, August 23, 2022. Photo from DOH Facebook page
Department of Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire led the launch of the PinasLakas Vaccination Program at the Rizal High School (RHS) in Pasig City, August 23, 2022. Photo from DOH Facebook page

PASIG CITY - Department of Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said Tuesday that the percentage of severe and critical COVID-19 cases admitted to hospitals has been increasing in recent weeks.

"We confirm that the percentage of severe and critical infections have been noted to increase for these past weeks," Vergeire said at the launch of the DOH PinasLakas campaign in Rizal High School in this city.

She made the announcement days after disclosing that the country is experiencing a rise in the number of COVID-19-related deaths in the past weeks.

There were 811 or 9.7 percent of COVID-19 patients admitted in hospitals in severe and critical condition as of Sunday, the DOH reported. 

This is the highest percentage of severe and critical COVID-19 patients recorded in 8 weeks, or since the week of June 20-26 which had a proportion of 10.7 percent severe and critical COVID-19 cases.

According to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group, this is the fourth straight week that the severe and critical cases have accounted for more than 9 percent of the total COVID-19 admissions. 

Vergeire noted though that the percentage has not breached the threshold of 10 percent or 1,000 patients. 

"'Pag tinignan natin sa kabuuan, hindi naman lumalagpas sa 10 percent na threshold o 1,000. Although, hindi natin gustong maliitin ang numero na yun, dahil nakikita nga natin na may angking pagtaas sa sever and critical," she said.

The DOH underscored that 60 percent of the severe and critical cases reported were unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated. 

"That’s what we are hoping to address with PinasLakas - mabawasan ang severe and critical, mababakunahan natin sila, at hopefully eventually bababa ang severe and critical," Vergeire said. 

The PinasLakas campaign at the Rizal High School prioritized students, faculty members, and school staff. 

The event was done as part of efforts to increase booster vaccination within the first 100 days of the Marcos administration. President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. assumed power on June 30.

"Tandaan po natin ang sinasabi ng experts na maaaring tumaas ang severe at critical kung hindi talaga tataas ang nag-receive ng booster doses ng ating mga kababayan," Vergeire said.

In terms of additional infections, the OCTA research group has observed a decrease in the country, citing a negative growth rate of 14 percent from Aug. 16 to 22.

The country's virus reproduction number or the number infected by a single COVID-19 case is also 0.97 percent, said OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David.

"Nakikita natin na patuloy na bumababa ang bilang ng kaso sa buong bansa," David said in a televised public briefing.

(We can see that the number of cases are going down in the whole country.) 

The DOH reported 23,883 additional COVID-19 cases in the past week or an average of 3,412 daily infections from Aug. 15 to 21. This was 15 percent lower compared to the previous week, according to the DOH's latest bulletin. 

The government's ongoing vaccination drive against coronavirus, which aims to increase booster shot coverage, is helping keep the virus at bay, David said.

With about 72.3 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated, the country's "wall of immunity" is strong, he added.

Of those inoculated, some 17.3 million have received an additional dose while 1.9 million have received a second booster.

Health experts have said that vaccination prevents people from getting critically ill, hospitalized or dying due to the disease.

- with report from Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News