'Check hospitals': Expert urges cautious optimism amid decline in COVID-19 cases

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 22 2021 08:45 AM

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MANILA – An expert told the public to be ‘cautiously optimistic’ as the number of COVID-19 cases declined in the country.

“Kailangan natin sabihin sa publiko, na we can be optimistic pero cautiously, cautiously optimistic kasi still, 4,000 ay way beyond ng previous peaks natin,” Prof. Jomar Rabajante of the University of the Philippines COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team said on TeleRadyo.

(We need to tell the public to be optimistic but cautiously, cautiously optimistic because still, 4,000 is way beyond our previous peaks.)

“Kasi kung titingnan natin yung peak natin nung, kung matatandaan niyo nung 2020, nasa ano tayo doon, around 4,500--almost the same ngayon. So nandoon pa rin tayo sa level na, nasa thousands.”

“Thousands—maraming buhay pa din yan,” he said.

(If we look at our 2020 peak, we were at 4,500--almost the same as what we have now. So we're still at the thousands--and that's still a lot of lives.)

The Philippines on Thursday reported 4,806 fresh COVID-19 cases, the third straight day that daily infections were below 5,000, according to data from the Department of Health (DOH).

This is a far cry from the more than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases daily which the country saw in September.

Rabajante said he is seeing a trend of decreasing COVID-19 cases, but also noted that some positive cases may not be recorded immediately in the DOH database.

“If titingnan lang natin yung trend, definitely makikita natin yung mga metrics na tinitingnan namin, pababa ang mga kaso. So tinitingnan natin yung cases declining siya, positivity rate, declining, yung ating hospitalization, national aggregate declining din.”

(If we look at the trends, definitely we're seeing a decline in the metrics we're watching. Cases are declining, and so are the positivity rate, hospitalization, and national aggregate.)

“Although gusto kong sabihin… yung actual number definitely, yung naririnig natin na mga 4,000 cases per day we don’t know actually if yun yung totoong number ‘no, kasi may mga ibang lugar na antigen test yung ginagamit, posibleng hindi pa narerecord.”

(Although I want ti say that..the actual number, the 4,000 cases per day, we don't know if that's accurate because some areas are using antigen tests and the data might not have been recorded.)

“For example, in Puerto Princesa, in Palawan, meron silang 66 new antigen positive nung October 21, then 12 new RT-PCR positive so makikita niyo yung dami ng antigen test na ginamit. But definitely kailangan ivalidate pa yun, pero posibleng hindi ito narerecord sa DOH data drop,” he explained. 

(For example, in Puerto Princesa in Palawan, they have 66 new antigen positive on October 21 and 12 new cases who tested positive using the RT-PCR test. So a lot of antigen tests were used. But we need to validate this since this may not yet have been included in the DOH data drop.)

He also noted that while the number of COVID-19 cases is going down, intensive care units in hospital continue to be filled with COVID-19 cases. 

“Hindi lang dapat tinitingnan yung number ng cases, number ng reported cases. Kailangan din yung hospitalization,” he said.

“So doon sa hospitals nakikita natin ano tayo ‘no, na nagde-decline, ang ating ICU ay around 2,466 nitong October 20.”

(We also have to look at the hospitalization. It's declining, there 2,466 occupied ICU beds on October 20.)

Rabajante noted, however, that this is still higher than the highest number of ICU beds occupied before the Delta variant, which is 2,056.

“Although declining, mataas pa rin. Stretched pa rin yung ating hospitals,” he said.

(Although it's declining, it's still high. Hospitals are still stretched.)

“Kaya sinasabi natin, it’s declining pero ingat pa rin. Kasi marami pa ring nasa hospitals,” he added.

(That's why we still need to take care. A lot of people are still in hospitals.)

--TeleRadyo, 22 October 2021