Expert urges caution amid apparent decline in COVID-19 case numbers

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2022 09:23 AM

Watch more News on iWantTFC

MANILA – An expert urged the public not to let their guards down against COVID-19, even after the Philippines' daily COVID-19 cases fell below 20,000 for a second straight day on Wednesday.

Prof. Jomar Robajante of the University of the Philippines Pandemic Response Team said hospitalization rates aren’t going down as fast as new COVID-19 case numbers.

“Actually medyo ingat tayo doon sa pag-interpret ng numero ngayon, kasi remember, ang (Department of Health) ay nagbago sila ng strategy kung sino yung mga ite-test. Ang dapat i-test talaga ay yung mga severe and critical, yung kailangan ng medical attention, at yung mga mild, pwedeng sa bahay lang. Pwede ngang hindi magpatest basta mag-isolate or quarantine,” he said.

“So, kailangang ingat tayo sa interpretation ngayon. Yung mga nakikita nating numero ay kaya siya bumaba dahil sa pagbabago nung definition na yon,” he noted.

“Kaya kami, kaya kami hindi lang yung case counts ang tinitingnan namin, pati hospitalizations. At, kung titingnan natin yung hospitalizations, hindi siya ganoon kasing bilis ng pababa, nung pagbaba ng case counts natin,” Rabajante said.

“Although may mga indication na nagde-decline na yung hospitalizations natin sa NCR, but still, kailangan nating mag-ingat kasi hindi ganoon kabilis yung pagdecline. For example, nung January 15, around 650 yung occupied (intensive care unit) beds natin, ngayong January, kahapon, 26, yung reported ay around 574 na lang.”

“But still more than 500 yung occupied beds so, ingat pa rin tayo kasi ang tinitingnan natin na ngayon hospitalizations,” he said.

Rabajante also noted that healthcare utilization rates also seem to be going up in other parts of the country.

“Kasi marami sa mga provinces less yung mga, less vaccination coverage at less ang healthcare capacity. Nakikita natin yung sa Cordillera, nagde-decline yung ano--lalo na sa Baguio nagde-decline yung cases. But for the Cordillera itself sa region, medyo tumaas yung ating ICU occupancy. Eto talaga ay kailangan tong tutukan yung Region 5...talagang nag-increase po ang ICU capacity sa Region 5,” he said.

“At isa sa mga kailangang tingnan din natin, yung sa Mindanao, lalo na yung, ah sa Davao nag-increase yung ICU occupancy from 87 to 143, 87 nung January 15, kahapon 143.”

“Pero yung talagang, para sa amin kailangangan tutukan yung (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao). Kasi, more than 80 percent ngayon, based doon sa datos ng DOH no more than 80% yung ICU occupancy ng BARMM and kung titingnan natin yung datos sila yung may less vaccination coverage din,” Rabajante noted.

“So kailangan tutukan yung provinces but, ano naman ‘no, compared nung delta and alpha variant natin, less hospitalizations all in all pag tiningnan natin yung national level.”

The Philippines on Wednesday announced 15,789 new COVID-19 cases. The positivity rate was at 35.8 percent. 

The ICU bed utilization rate in Metro Manila and nationwide was at 42 percent and 48 percent, respectively.

--TeleRadyo, 27 January 2022