THE “modified” qualifier in Cebu City’s current version of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) should be deemed irrelevant, and the city must still hold the line. Its Emergency Operations Center has just deployed its fleet of contact tracers, and still has a way to go.
The MECQ is fair as it is. The slight downturn in new transmissions isn’t reassuring enough, a radical easing of lockdowns may spark yet another viral chain. The Department of Health reported a slight decline of cases from June 4 to July 11, 2020—apparently a result of the reversion from general community quarantine, which triggered a spike in the figures.
However, it was in this period, too, when the number of deaths in Cebu City rose at a terrible 175 deaths on July 4 to 235 on July 11. The spike came parallel to a tough race with our private hospitals in their efforts to expand critical care capacities.
The Department of Health (DOH) 7 noted an improvement in Cebu City’s critical care utilization rate, that is the ratio of occupancy to the number of Covid-dedicated critical care beds.
DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas said on Wednesday, July 15, 2020, that critical care rate in Cebu City had gone down from 87 to 89 percent to 72 percent or lower. He attributes the slide to the private hospitals’ expansions.
However, 70 percent is still within the critical zone. The DOH tracker on July 14, 2020 showed that 10 of the 16 medical facilities in Cebu City were still on “danger” level, three were in the “warning” level. Only one was marked “safe.”
The tracker also showed that as of July 14, bed occupancy had been at 73.1 percent—specifically, 615 of 841 beds were already occupied.
Covid-dedicated intensive care unit beds were 73.91 percent occupied, or 51 of the 69 beds. Ward beds, meanwhile, were 62.39 percent occupied, or 141 of the 226.
DOH also reported that 111 mechanical ventilators had been used, a utilization rate of 54.05 percent.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Visayas said the city’s aggressive interventions bore significant strides in three weeks.
Retired Maj. Gen. Melquiades Feliciano, who is assisting overseer Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, had recognized the efforts of the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which was erstwhile in a clutter, as the IATF earlier observed.
“There is now a system that is being followed by the EOC, especially on the referral system at the barangay level. This is very important: to (be able to) give the immediate healthcare program to probable Covid-19 patients,” said Feliciano.
The objective, he said, should be to maximize the barangay isolation centers to act as buffers to protect the hospitals from a deluge of cases.
As of the moment, Cebu City is still neck and neck with the virus, and that must be clearly communicated by government to its citizens.