FOR the first time since the Department of Health (DOH) began listing down in October 2020 the five areas in the country with the most number of new Covid-19 infections, Cebu City hit the top spot.
Dislodging the cities of Davao and Quezon, Cebu City posted the highest number of new coronavirus infections in a day on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.
Davao City and Quezon City are the top two areas that have consistently posted a high number of new cases.
In a DOH bulletin issued at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Cebu City registered 84 new cases, followed by Davao City (67), Cavite (51), Quezon City (47) and Rizal (41).
These new infections were among the 1,173 new cases confirmed by the DOH on Tuesday.
These brought the total case count in the country to 516,166 as of Jan. 26.
Of the total, 30,357 or 5.9 percent were active cases, or those still in hospitals or in isolation.
The number of deaths also rose with the DOH reporting 94 additional mortalities on Tuesday, bringing the country’s Covid death toll to 10,386.
The country’s Covid fatality rate has also shown a steady increase from 2.0 percent a day earlier, to 2.01 percent on Tuesday.
From Jan. 13 to 24, the Covid fatality rate ranged from 1.97 percent to 1.99 percent.
The case fatality rate was lower at 1.92 percent to 1.94 percent from Jan. 1 to 12.
There were only 18 recoveries, bringing the total to 475,423 or 92.1 percent of the Philippines’ caseload.
Testing remained low at 17,550 tests on Jan. 25, of which 908 or 5.2 percent yielded positive results.
The World Health Organization (WHO) positivity rate benchmark is 5.0 percent.
Based on the latest DOH Central Visayas data, Cebu City had 81 new cases on Jan. 24 and 70 on Jan. 25.
Cebu City also reported 97 new cases on Jan. 23, the highest since infections accelerated again to double-digit levels on Dec. 29, 2020.
Cebu City was considered one of the Covid-19 hotspots in the country in June and July 2020.
It re-entered the DOH national list of areas with high numbers of cases on Jan. 12 (51 cases, fifth), Jan. 13 (44 cases, fifth), Jan. 22 (80 cases, third) and Jan. 25 (88 cases, second).
The cases recorded in the DOH national case bulletin differ from those released by its regional offices.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained that data submitted by the regional offices are subjected to another verification process in the national level.
Cebu Province, with 50 cases confirmed by the DOH central office, had the fifth highest number of infections on Jan. 25.
As Cebu City’s active Covid-19 cases near 1,000, the Central Visayas’ critical care utilization rate (CCUR), the number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, isolation beds, and ventilators in use in the different health and medical facilities for Covid-19 patients, are hitting 23 percent.
Councilor Joel Garganera, head of the Emergency Operations Center, said the continued rise in additional Covid cases in the city should serve as a wake-up call.
“It suggests that some people, when left on their own accord, can’t be expected to self-regulate and follow the expected preventive measures,” he said.
Garganera said to mitigate the further spread of the virus, stricter monitoring of compliance by the City needs to be enforced.
Since most cases come from household transmissions, workplaces, and social gatherings, he again urged everyone to limit gatherings to only those that are necessary.
Garganera said there is also a need to increase contact tracing as Cebu City used to have around 600 contact tracers until December 2020.
Another measure being considered by the EOC is the implementation of a stricter and earlier curfew.
DOH 7 spokesperson Mary Jean Loreche, said though the region’s CCUR is still far from the “warning signal” of 30 percent, they will have to closely monitor it.
Of the 896 total beds (794 regular Covid beds and 102 intensive care unit beds) allocated for Covid patients by private hospitals in the region, 197 beds were already occupied (179 are admitted in regular Covid wards and 18 are in ICU) as of Sunday, Jan. 24.
“We pray that those admitted in the hospitals are not really the moderate to severe, but I would surmise that these include mild cases,” Loreche said.
The DOH 7 also encouraged Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms to consider temporary treatment monitoring facility admission instead of hospital admission to give way to critically and severely ill patients.
The newly reopened Cebu City Quarantine Center (CCQC) has started receiving patients and is now handling seven Covid-19 patients. The CCQC can accommodate up to 160 patients.
Other quarantine facilities in Cebu City include Noah Complex at the South Road Properties which can accommodate 300 patients, the Bayanihan Cebu Sacred Heart Field Center that can accommodate 50 patients and the Bayanihan IEC Field Center that can hold 130 patients.
Barangay Isolation Centers (BICs) in Barangays Mambaling and Zapatera were also reopened to accept Covid-19 patients from both the North and South Districts.
Regionwide, Cebu City currently has the highest number of active cases at 955.
Negros Oriental is next with 723 active cases, followed by Cebu Province (537), Mandaue City (235), Lapu-Lapu City (119), Bohol (22), and Siquijor with only three active cases.
Meanwhile, Mayor Junard Chan will revive Lapu-Lapu City’s number coding scheme for motorists.
He will also strictly require constituents to carry their quarantine passes when outside their homes, Chan said, as the city’s number of cases begins to rise.
To ensure that his policies are strictly implemented, Chan ordered the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LCPO) to conduct regular patrols and arrest those who fail to follow the minimum health protocols.
He also ordered police personnel to conduct surprise inspections in establishments in the City such as bars and drinking holes and ensure that owners will only implement the “two bottles per customer” policy.
Those who are caught violating the policy will be required to pay a fine or stay for one night at the City Auditorium.
Chan called on residents of private subdivisions to avoid conducting mass gatherings such as sports fests as these are still prohibited.
Resorts in the city were also reminded to observe the 50 percent maximum capacity rule. (MVI, WBS, KFD, GCM, PAC / JKV)