IN THE last four days of January 2021, Cebu City registered more than 100 new Covid-19 cases on each day, bringing the city’s active cases at the end of the first month of the year to 1,428.
Based on the data provided by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), 103 new cases were recorded on Jan. 28; 108, Jan. 29; 118, Jan. 30; and 129, Jan. 31.
Local authorities attributed the increase in cases mainly to the private gatherings during the holidays.
Eleven months after recording its first case, Cebu City reached a total of 12,647 cases on Feb. 1, according to the Department of Health (DOH) 7 bulletin.
On Monday, the city’s new cases dropped to 77, breaking the four-day streak of over 100 new cases, bringing active cases to 1,504.
In its Jan. 30 report, the OCTA Research Group said the new cases in Cebu City continued on an upward trend.
The group reported that the reproduction number in Cebu increased by 1 on Dec. 29, 2020 and was currently at 1.62 based on a seven-day moving average, with Cebu City as the primary driver.
While the group said the hospital bed occupancy in Cebu is still less than 30 percent and is below the 70 percent critical threshold set by the Department of Health, the rapid increase in new Covid-19 cases, if not curbed, could lead to more than 150 new Covid-19 cases per day in Cebu City in two weeks.
“It is very important for the citizens in Cebu City to strictly comply with the health guidelines of their local government,” the group said.
In its earlier report on Jan. 28, the Octa Research Group warned that Cebu, including Cebu City, had become an area of “serious concern” with its current trend of increasing Covid-19 cases.
The group stated that if this trend continues, the figures Cebu had during the enhanced community quarantine period in 2020, when “the province averaged 400 new cases per day,” could return in the next two weeks.
On Feb. 1, the entire Cebu logged 158 new cases (Cebu City, 77; Lapu-Lapu City, 23; Mandaue City, 20; and Cebu Province, 38).
Mortality in January
Despite the spike in new Covid-19 cases in Cebu City, as it recorded more than 1,800 new cases this year, the city recorded only 11 patients succumbing to the respiratory disease this year, according to City Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC deputy chief implementer.
Garganera said the current situation was unlike at the height of the pandemic in the middle of 2020 when almost every day there were patients who succumbed to Covid-19. The disease claimed 690 lives in the city last year.
Most of the active cases are now isolated in quarantine facilities, and Garganera expects most of the patients to recover.
The EOC leadership urged residents exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 such as dry cough and fever to avail themselves of the free tests offered by the city government’s clustered clinics in Barangay Sawang Calero’s sports complex in the south district and Cebu Medical Society in Barangay Banilad in the north district.
Elsewhere, Lapu-Lapu City has seen new cases in the double digits in the last five days of January—19 on Jan. 27; 10, Jan. 28; 23, Jan. 29; 53, Jan. 30; and 47, Jan. 31.
The other dates that the city registered new cases in the double digits were Jan. 9 (10 cases), Jan. 19 (14), and Jan. 24 (10).
On Feb. 1, the city recorded 23 cases, bringing its total number of active cases to 251.
Anticipating more cases in the coming days, the city government has prepared its third building in the isolation compound in Barangay Gun-ob.
One building, which has a capacity of 80 persons, is almost full, said City Health Office head Dr. Agnes Realiza. The second building has started to accommodate individuals who tested positive.
All the quarantined individuals in the Gun-ob isolation facilities are asymptomatic. The individuals with mild symptoms are isolated in a facility across Hoops Dome.
Realiza said most of the new cases exhibit no symptoms of Covid-19.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of the DOH 7, said they are looking into the possibility that children are superspreaders of the novel coronavirus, after they noticed that the number of children who tested positive for Covid-19 increased by 70 percent.
Loreche said the other reason for the rapid increase in cases in Cebu is the possibility that the Covid-19 variant is already spreading but still undetected.
As to what made her say that the children could be the superspreaders, Loreche said she noticed that “they go around without any mask.”
“Unya inig uli sa balay halog kay mama, halog kay papa (When they return home, they hug their mother and father),” she said.
The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) disinfected all of its 11 police stations after five of its officers tested positive for Covid-19.
In January alone, a total of seven police officers tested positive; only one of them recently recovered, said CCPO Director Col. Josefino Ligan.
The five officers were immediately brought to an isolation facility after the results came out. All of them showed no symptoms.
The Regional Trial Court Branch 86 and City Prosecutor’s Office in Barangay Tipolo, Mandaue City were closed on Monday, Feb. 1, after a court employee tested positive.
The two offices will reopen on Friday, Feb. 5. (PAC, JKV, GCM, AYB, KFD)