DOH 7: Not a ‘surge’ but a ‘spike’

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THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 said Cebu City might have experienced a “spike” in the number of Covid-19 cases on Nov. 14, 2020, but the City is not on its way to experiencing a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

In a press briefing last Monday, Nov. 23, DOH 7 spokesperson for Covid-19 Mary Jean Loreche recalled that Cebu City had only 12 new cases last Nov. 17; 25 new cases on Nov. 18; 25 on Nov. 19; 15 on Nov. 20; 15 on Nov. 21 and 22 new cases on Nov. 22.

This following a spike in cases last Nov. 14 with 59 new cases and 30 new cases on Nov. 15.

“We are just having a spike. A surge is something that is out of the ordinary and then successive. Then we can say that there is a surge of cases,” Loreche said.

“But this one, we have an isolated incident whereby our number of cases increased for a given period of time,” she added.

Loreche said, a “spike,” in epidemiological terms, only means a sudden increase in the “routine” number of cases or more than double the usual.

She said data from August to November 2020, when Cebu City was placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status, showed days with a “slight spike” in the number of cases.

The DOH 7 recommended to the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) the strict re-implementation of minimum health standards as people were seen crowding in public places disregarding advice on physical distancing and the wearing of face masks and face shields.

“If you notice, most of our new cases were found inside the city and not from travelers coming from outside the city,” she said in Cebuano.

DOH 7 recommends more visibility of armed government personnel to ensure the public follows basic health standards.

Loreche said “surveillance testing” can also be conducted in public markets as well as random Covid-19 testing in government agencies, the transport sector, private establishments, and even construction sites.

Loreche lauded Lapu-Lapu City’s testing efforts and health practices which, she said, can also be done in Cebu City.

“If I am not mistaken, they will be conducting testing of their employees in City Hall. They have also scheduled testing for various areas such as the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the firemen,” she said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

Loreche said should Cebu City conduct surveillance testing again, the number of Covid-19 cases in the city may rise.

But rather than be caught off guard, Loreche said it is better to find infections early on.

She also called on both the government and private sector to have health infection and prevention control officers who will be trained to monitor that public health standards are being followed. / WBS