Central Visayas ‘not a candidate’ for ECQ

·3 min read

CENTRAL Visayas, including Cebu City, is in no danger of being placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The Department of Health (DOH) 7 assured this amid fears that the region may follow in the footsteps of the National Capital Region (NCR) and four neighboring provinces, which were placed under a fresh lockdown for the Holy Week from 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 29, 2021, to Easter Sunday, April 4, to contain coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) transmission.

“Based on our data, you will find that we are not a candidate for ECQ,” said DOH 7 chief pathologist and spokesperson Mary Jean Loreche.

Loreche said the Central Visayas has “a very good case management.”

She pointed out that the critical care utilization rate in the region is only 35.6 percent, which is well within the safe zone of 60 percent.

DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas said that while daily Covid-19 cases in local government units (LGUs) in the four provinces in the region have increased compared to the fourth quarter in 2020, appropriate actions have been taken.

“If you look at our statistics, we may have risen in terms of number of cases, but our response has been also appropriate,” he said.

As of Sunday, March 28, the DOH 7 data showed that the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the region has reached 48,930 of which 41,144 have recovered and 1,762 have died, leaving 6,024 active cases.

Bernadas said government isolation facilities are also not congested since hotels have been accredited to serve as alternative venues.

Bernadas said hospitals were able to adjust immediately when daily cases started to increase in January by augmenting personnel and beds for Covid-19 patients.

Bernadas said the initiatives of the LGUs’ Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) and the barangays have been effective in containing the virus.

“We were even warned to be problematic, but with the help of everybody, we are very happy to share with you that the initiative of our operation centers and the barangays have really taken its effect,” said Bernadas, “without which our surge of cases could have really worsened,” he added.

In Cebu City, its EOC recommended the reimplementation of the liquor ban, which the mayor did.

Some barangays in Cebu City, too, enforced strict community quarantine protocols, such as stay-at-home Sundays.

Mayor Edgardo Labella, in a separate press conference, said the City’s EOC has been following the scheme of trace, isolate and treat, which has proven effective in containing the spread of the virus.

Labella also urged the public to continue following minimum health protocols.

The Cebu City EOC has observed that more male Covid-19 patients have died compared to female patients.

City Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC deputy chief implementer, said based on their data from June 2020 to March this year, the number of male Covid-19 fatalities has reached 445 compared to 274 females.

Garganera also said the critical care occupancy rate in private and public hospitals in the city is 28 percent and 49 percent, respectively.

Of the 678 beds allotted for Covid-19 patients in private hospitals, only 195 are occupied, while only 175 of the 355 beds allotted for Covid-19 patients in public hospitals are occupied, he said.

As of Sunday, the DOH 7 logged 80 additional cases in Cebu City, bringing its total number of active cases to 1,812 with 178 reported additional recoveries and one death.

Garganera said the positivity rate has also dropped to 7.43 percent from 15-23 percent the other week.

Meanwhile, he said 13 mountain barangays have not not reported any new transmission in the last 10 days.

Cebu City has a total of 80 barangays. (JJL, PAC / PJB)