Cebu City Covid cases hit record high; hospital occupancy may reach critical level

Mildred V. Galarpe
·4 min read

THERE seems to be no signs of a downtrend in the number of coronavirus infections in Cebu City, as the number of new cases hit the highest at 249 on Tuesday, February 9, since the city was placed under modified general community quarantine in August 2020.

Data gathered from the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas showed a 40 percent increase in the number of cases logged from January 26 to February 8 compared to those logged in January 9 to 22.

In the 14-day period, or from January 9 to 22, Cebu City recorded 673 new cases, 185 recoveries, and eight deaths. In the January 26 to February 8 period, the city logged a total of 1,699 new cases, 425 recoveries, and five deaths.

Octa Research group, in a report dated February 9, 2021, said that the number of cases in Cebu City is still manageable but data indicates a continuing upward trend in new infections since the start of 2021.

Findings

* The 120 average new cases per day from February 1 to 7 is 30 percent higher than the previous trend.

* Positivity rate increased to 10 percent.

* Attack rate rose to 11.11 per 100,000 (this classifies the local government as a high-risk area per DOH guidelines).

* Positivity rates in Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu remained at 10 percent.

Caution

Researchers warned that if coronavirus infections in Cebu City will continue to rise in the next two to three weeks, the city's hospital occupancy rate may hit a critical level.

Data gathered from the DOH showed that hospital occupancy in the city increased by 15 percent as of February 7, 2021, at 40 percent compared to the 25 percent in the previous month.

Octa Research said that if cases continue to increase the current transmission rate, hospital occupancy for Covid patients could breach the 70 percent critical level.

Before and now

According to Octa's report, Cebu City averaged about 167 new Covid-19 cases per day at its peak in June and July 2020 when the city was under general community quarantine.

The current average case per day as of February 8 is 130 new cases per day.

The difference

In July 2020, the hospital occupancy rate averaged at 80 percent with almost 700 Covid beds from 13 hospitals.

Now, there are 820 Covid beds from 15 hospitals in the city.

But with the current transmission rate, Octa said that in two to three weeks from February 9, there will be an additional 240 beds occupied in Cebu City.

Mandaue City has a 40 percent occupancy rate, while Lapu-Lapu City logged 57 percent.

Recommendations

1. Consider the stricter implementation of their current community

quarantines while continuing to intensify their efforts at testing, tracing, and isolation to reverse the increase in transmissions in their communities.

2. Strict barangay lockdowns in areas identified as hotspots to suppress or mitigate viral transmission in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu Lapu.

3. Concentrate resources for testing, tracing, and isolation and provide social support for the vulnerable and the poor who will be affected by the localized lockdowns.

The Octa team said strict monitoring and enforcement compliance with minimum health standards such as physical distancing, the wearing of face masks and face shields, and proper hygiene should be imposed to reverse the increase in transmissions at the community level.

Lag in recoveries

Meanwhile, Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy implementer of the Emergency Operations Center of Cebu City, noted a lag in the recording of recoveries among Covid-19 patients in Cebu City.

He said this was due to the different guidelines followed by other quarantine centers and the New Oasis for Adaptation and a Home (Noah) complex at the South Road Properties.

On October 16, 2021, the DOH issued a memorandum reducing the number of quarantine days for asymptomatic patients from 14 to 10 days.

But Noah, being a PhilHealth-accredited facility, is following the 14-day quarantine guidelines of Health.

Noah, Garganera said, accommodates around 400 Covid-19 patients.

Another difference is the fact that other isolation centers start the count of the 10-day quarantine period upon the result of the positive test, while Noah starts the 14-day count upon admission at the facility.

These differences in the terms of reference, Garganera said, have contributed to the lag in the recording of recoveries, thus affecting the continued increase in active cases.

Garganera hopes that these differences will be settled as they harmonize their data with that of the DOH. (MVG)