ANTICIPATING a possible surge of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in Central Visayas, the Department of Health (DOH) 7 extended the contracts of two quarantine facilities in Cebu City after these expired on Dec. 31, 2020.
The contract of the Bayanihan Cebu Sacred Heart School (SHS) Field Center is extended until Jan. 31, 2021, while the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) Field Center will continue to accommodate asymptomatic Covid-19 patients or patients with mild symptoms until March 30.
In a text message to SunStar Cebu on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, DOH 7 Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas, said the 130-bed IEC Field Center only had eight occupants as of Saturday, Jan. 9.
Operations at the SHS Field Center have been suspended since Oct. 1 due to lack of patients.
“In case patients can still be accommodated by the IEC Field Center, then (operations at the) SHS Field Center will remain suspended and, finally, (we will) decide its relevance by the third week of January,” Bernadas said.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson, has reiterated that the region’s health care capacity will be able to handle a spike in Covid-19 cases.
As of Friday, Jan. 8, only 117 Covid-19 patients were confined in hospitals throughout Central Visayas, which had set aside 778 beds for this purpose.
Loreche said the majority of new cases are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, so there is no need for hospital admission.
Earlier, Loreche said Covid-19 cases in the region nearly doubled since Dec. 23, 2020. The DOH 7 attributed the surge to the people’s movement and crowding during the Misa de Gallo or dawn masses and the Christmas and New Year holidays.
As of Saturday, the region logged 1,124 active cases, including new 118 cases, up from 578 on Dec. 23. Fifty-four of these new cases were recorded in Cebu City.
Negros Oriental had the highest number of active cases with 499, followed by Cebu City with 331, Cebu Province with 147, Mandaue City with 63, Lapu-Lapu City with 58, Bohol with 22 and Siquijor with four.
On Sunday, Jan. 10, the DOH central office confirmed nearly 2,000 new coronavirus infections for the second consecutive day, bringing the weekly case count back to the estimated 10,000 level.
In its case bulletin issued at 4 p.m. Sunday, the DOH central reported 1,906 new cases of infection, slightly lower than the 1,952 the day before.
These brought the country’s total caseload to 487,690, a 2.0 percent increase from the 477,807 cases a week ago on Jan. 3.
There were eight additional mortalities, raising the death toll from Covid-19 to 9,405. The case fatality rate remained at 1.93 percent.
The DOH central office also reported 8,592 recoveries under its time-based recovery scheme, bringing the total number of recoveries to 458,198 and reducing the active cases to 20,087.
The Jan. 10 recoveries were slightly higher than the 8,316 recoveries reported on Jan. 3. Under the time-based recovery strategy, coronavirus-positive individuals without symptoms for at least 14 consecutive days are considered as recoveries.
Among the highest number of new cases on Sunday were 121 from Quezon City, 84 from Benguet, 82 from Davao City, 79 from Cavite and 75 from Bulacan.
There were 18,037 individuals tested as of noon of Jan. 9, including 1,155 or 6.4 percent with positive results.
With the increasing number of tests conducted in a day, the number of new infections has also increased.
From Jan. 4 to 10, the DOH case bulletins showed an additional 9,883 new cases, almost 25 percent higher than the 7,921 cases recorded from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3.
These were, however, lower than the 10,097 cases in the Dec. 21 to 27 period and the 10,389 cases from Dec. 14 to 20. The first half of December saw less than 10,000 cases a week, at 9,970 from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6 and 9,566 from Dec. 7 to 13.
The DOH had cautioned that the low number of new infections during the Christmas and New Year holidays was due to the lower number of patients who had themselves tested and the closure of several private laboratories.
Globally, more than five million more people got infected and about 100,000 more died in the past week from Jan. 4 to 10, bringing the total number of cases to nearly 90 million and the Covid-19 deaths to nearly two million.
As of 2 p.m. of Jan. 4, over 89.6 million individuals had been infected and more than 1.9 million had died, according to the Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. / WBS, MVI / SUNSTAR PHILIPPINES