DOH: Cebu City’s Covid-19 situation still stable

HEALTH officials in Central Visayas gave the assurance that the situation in Cebu City remains stable despite the rising number of Covid-19 positive cases.

Dr. Jaime Bernadas, regional director of the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas, and Dr. Van Philip Baton, DOH-7 regional medical coordinator for Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases, both maintained that situation in Cebu City remains manageable.

Bernadas explained that there was a backlog in the processing of tests taken during May. This was due to ‘a lot of interrupting problems,’ such as availability of reagents, processor machines, extraction kits, and extraction machines.

According to Bernadas, the two molecular laboratories, one in Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and the other at the DOH regional office, became fully operational towards the end of May. The delayed release of test results caused an increase in the Covid positive cases in Region 7, including Cebu City, he said.

Bernadas also emphasized that there have been fluctuations from 80 to 150 positive cases daily in the region in the past month. In the past week, he added, the fluctuation has stabilized from 80 to 100 cases a day.

Since 80 percent of positive cases are asymptomatic, they would not require health care since they would just be placed in isolation. On the other hand, 20 percent have symptoms, with less than two percent classified as severe cases.

On the parameters used in determining which type of quarantine should be imposed, Bernadas said that Cebu City’s case doubling time (CDT) of between six to seven days remains within the safe zone.

On the other hand, the city’s critical care utilization rate (CUR) is pegged at 40 to 50 percent, which is within the warning zone. While the utilization for ICU beds is at 70 percent, that of the mechanical ventilators remains at a low of 20 to 25 percent.

The DOH-7 regional director said they have urged hospitals to expand their capacity to admit Covid-19 cases so they could accept more patients.

Bernadas also noted that the infirmaries, such as the Bayanihan Cebu IEC Field Center and the Cebu City Quarantine Center, can accommodate patients who no longer need severe treatment. This would help clear the ICU beds for more severe cases.

Meanwhile, Dr. Van Philip Baton emphasized that there are improvements in the situation since the quarantine centers can accept moderate cases and those who have stabilized.

“So far, ang atong nakita nga paramaters sa (based on the parameters in) Cebu City, or Cebu province and Central Visayas, we are still within the warning zone, especially in our ICU beds and isolation rooms,” he said. “We are seeing a slowing down in the epidemic.”

Baton also stressed that individuals need to follow the minimum health standards to keep the current classification of general community quarantine (GCQ) and no need to revert to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)

These include wearing of masks, regular and proper handwashing, physical distancing and isolation if feeling sick and appropriate referring to hospitals, he said.

“We should not be complacent. The mindset of everybody should be that ‘I can possibly be infected and my housemate could also be infected.’ We should exert efforts not to be infected or not to infect others. Everyone is at risk.Covid-19 does not discriminate,” Dr. Baton said in Cebuano.

He emphasized that any quarantine level is only effective if everyone follows the protocol, such as the lockdown of a barangay or the isolation of a family or the residents of the house, where there is a positive case.

“That is the mindset we should have right now. This is the time we exercise individual and personal responsibility for our health and the health of those around us,” Baton pointed out./PR