DOH confirms spike in COVID-19 cases possibly due to evacuation from storms, holiday season

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 30 2020 04:03 PM

Shoppers flock along Recto Avenue in Divisoria, Manila to buy Christmas gifts on Nov. 30, 2020. Authorities advised shoppers to plan ahead and identify location of target shops to avoid overcrowding in Divisoria amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday confirmed that it has monitored a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.

This after the daily tally went back to the 2,000 level on Sunday, and after the OCTA Research Group flagged an increase in new cases in November.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during a Laging Handa briefing that the OCTA Research findings were correct and align with the 2-week growth rate and average daily attack rate being monitored by the DOH.

“Yung pagtaas, pwedeng ma-attribute natin yan ay unang una, nagdaan itong dalawang malakas na bagyo,” Duque said, mentioning Typhoon Quinta in addition to Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. “Yung sa evacuation centers natin ay posibleng naging dahilan din yan sa kaunting pagtaas ng kaso.”

(The increase could be attributed first to the 2 strong typhoons recently. The transfer of people to evacuation centers could be a possible reason for the increase in cases.)

Duque said that as Christmas nears, there are also more people going out and sometimes forgetting to follow minimum health standards such as the wearing of masks and physical distancing.

“Talagang meron tayong karagdagang kaso. Kaya ito ay naghuhudyat na maging mas maingat tayo. Sumunod tayo sa lahat ng panuntunan,” he appealed to the public.

(We really have an increase in cases, so this signals the need to be careful. We should follow guidelines.)

Because of this, the health chief said Filipinos should just celebrate Christmas with their housemates and immediate family members.

“Wag na magimbita ng iba pang kamag-anak na galing saan saan at di tayo makakasiguro na sila ay free o ligtas sa COVID,” he said.

(Let’s not invite other relatives from other areas, especially if we’re not sure if they are free from COVID.)

He also advised against going to places such as churches because of the higher risk of infection. People should also reschedule plans to go home to the province.

“Lahat pong ito ay dapat mataas sa ating kamalayan para lumayo tayo sa peligro at maging ligtas ang ating pagdiriwang ng Pasko at Bagong Taon. Huwag po tayong pasaway dahil may kasabihan, nasa huli ang pagsisisi,” he said.

(We should be aware of these things so we can avoid danger and remain safe while we celebrate Christmas and New year. Let’s not be negligent because you don’t want to regret what might happen.)

He reminded the public that it is usually the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions who suffer from COVID-19.

Asked about the possible dangers if Metro Manila shifts to a more lenient modified general community quarantine this December, Duque said, “Pag ganun nangyari, tataas ang contact rate. Kapag tumaas ang contact rate, tataas ang transmission rate mo.”

(If that happens, contact rate will increase, and this can result in an increase in transmission rate.)

Mentioning the possibility of people going around more freely, he said more people will be infected and this can lead to an increase in cases.

But Duque noted that clinical management of COVID-19 patients in the Philippines has improved because of the work of Filipino doctors and nurses.

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