Cebu breaches 4K Covid-19 cases

THERE are now 4,228 cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Cebu.

This was revealed by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia in her early evening press briefing Wednesday, June 10, 2020 where she said there were 15 new Covid-19 cases in Cebu Province, 195 new cases in Cebu City, three in Lapu-Lapu City and six in Mandaue City.

The new cases bring the total number of cases in Cebu Province to 324, in Cebu City to 3,439, in Lapu-Lapu City to 145 and Mandaue City to 320, for a total of 4,228 cases in the whole province.

For its part, the Cebu City Health Department (CHD) reported a different figure on Wednesday. It posted its report on its official Facebook page past 9 p.m., stating that Cebu City only has 101 new Covid-19 cases.

The surge of cases in Cebu City in the past few days was not due to easement of restrictions, but due to backlogs of specimen testing and test results in laboratories last May, said Department of Health 7 Director Jaime Bernadas.

In early May, there was a problem with the availability of reagents, extraction kits and extraction machine, resulting in limited testing of swab samples. Bernadas said they already fixed the problem.

Año’s concern

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Wednesday expressed concern over the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Cebu City. He said National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. will be in the city on Thursday, June 11, to meet with local officials.

As of June 9, Cebu City had 2,988 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, the highest among the cities. Quezon City, which has the highest number of cases in Metro Manila, reported 2,452 confirmed cases on June 9.

Deaths in Cebu City are lower at 33 than Quezon City’s 197 while recoveries in Cebu City are higher at 1,710 than the 1,179 in Quezon City.

However, Quezon City has a much lower incidence rate of 835 cases per million based on its 2015 population of 2.936 million.

Cebu City, on the other hand, had the highest incidence rate in the country, which was computed at 3,238 cases per million based on a population of 922,611.

This is higher than San Juan City’s 2,758 cases per million and Mandaluyong City’s 1,964 cases per million.

Due to the rising cases in Cebu City, Central Visayas region has the second highest number of infections in the country next to the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila.

As of June 9, NCR had 12,649 cases while Central Visayas had 3,715. Eight out of 10 cases in the region, or 80 percent, are in Cebu City.

Both regions are under general community quarantine (GCQ) until June 15.

Discussion

Año said they were still discussing whether to lift the GCQ or shift to modified GCQ in Metro Manila, Cebu City and other areas under GCQ.

He said they will submit their recommendations to President Rodrigo Duterte before June 15. The President is scheduled to meet with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on June 15.

Asymptomatic cases

In Cebu Province, Garcia said there had been too much fear surrounding Covid-19 because of the increasing numbers reported, but she said not all of these were “active” cases, which she defined as those who were in the hospital or in home quarantine or a quarantine facility because they had symptoms, like fever or cough.

Of the 309 cases in Cebu Province as of June 9, for example, she said only 61 were active cases, 134 were asymptomatic, 87 had recovered, and only 27 died.

“And they recovered without medicine or a vaccine,” she said.

What’s more, of the 27 who died, she said only three had died due to Covid-19. The rest died of other causes such as kidney disease, heart disease, cancer, aneurysm or tuberculosis, and it was only “incidental” that they also had Covid-19.

Garcia also said that of the 309 cases listed under Cebu Province, only 266 were actually residing there, 15 were only temporary residents as they were actually mainly residing in Cebu City, seven were repatriated overseas Filipino workers, while the rest were health workers or personnel of hospitals living in Cebu City.

She said other diseases like dengue and tuberculosis (TB) had killed more people than Covid-19 in Cebu, but there is no hysteria surrounding these diseases.

From Jan. 1 to June 9, 2020, she said there were 2,490 dengue cases and 2,749 pulmonary TB cases in Cebu Province, compared to just 309 Covid-19 cases. Twelve had died from dengue, and 21 from TB, versus three from Covid-19.

She said tuberculosis is a disease that is “airborne,” but no contract tracing is done on the contacts of the people who contract it, unlike with Covid-19.

Other areas under GCQ are Cagayan Valley (Cagayan, Batanes, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino), Central Luzon (Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales), Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Pangasinan, Davao City, and Zamboanga City.

The rest of the country is under modified GCQ, which is one step closer to the new normal.

The Department of Health reported 22,992 confirmed Covid-19 cases nationwide as of 4 p.m., June 9. A total of 1,071 had died from Covid-19. (CTL, JJL, MVI & TAPM)