Rise in Covid-19 cases ‘not so alarming’

·4 min read

THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 has observed a “noticeable” increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu between Nov. 1 and 14.

In its report covering the first two weeks of the month, the DOH 7’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit said Cebu City’s cases grew 302.9 percent.

From 35 new Covid-19 cases logged between Nov. 1 and 7, it had a total of 141 new cases from Nov. 8 to 14.

Lapu-Lapu City’s Covid-19 cases also grew 292.9 percent from 14 new cases during the first week to 55 new cases during the second week.

In Mandaue City, only seven new cases were reported in the first week and 41 new cases in the second week, or a 485.7 percent growth.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson, told SunStar Cebu the current trend can be alarming “in a way,” but since the region’s health care capacity and treatment and monitoring facilities and laboratories are equipped to handle the situation, “then we are not so alarmed.”

Loreche said these changes can be attributed to several factors that include intensive contact tracing activities, which means even second generation close contacts were swabbed; more people moving around as border controls slackened; and business establishments having “a tendency to be lax” in their execution of protocols.

Loreche stressed the need to reinforce the implementation of minimum health standards.

She said the public must remain vigilant and mindful of their activities and “embrace to the fullest the health protocols.”

Cebu City logged 25 new cases Wednesday night, Nov. 18. It has a total of 306 active Covid-19 cases.

The number of active cases is 66 in Mandaue City and 95 in Lapu-Lapu City.

The number of barangays in Cebu City that have had zero Covid-19 transmission for 14 days is 39, including the four barangays that never had cases since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Cebu City has 80 barangays.

Despite the recent increase in the number of active cases, Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said isolating Covid-19 patients is manageable.

Although the barangay isolation centers have been temporarily closed, they can be reopened if there is a need, he said.

“As of now, we are in the pink of health in so far as isolation for asymptomatic patients is concerned,” Garganera said.

As of Wednesday, 125 Covid-19 patients were staying at the New Normal Oasis for Adaptation and a Home, 12 were at the IC3 Bayanihan Center and 24 were confined in government hospitals.

A total of 97,020 individuals in Cebu City have been tested for Covid-19, of which 10,504 tested positive. Of this number, 9,578 have already recovered, or a recovery rate of 91.18 percent.

The death toll from Covid-19 in the city is 684.

In Mandaue City, Barangays Mantuyong, Centro and Tawason have been declared Covid-free, based on the report of the city’s EOC.

Dr. Ligaya Lakambini Dargantes, the City’s Covid-19 patient care and management head, said there is no second wave of the coronavirus in the city despite the recent rise in the number of cases.

“If you notice our trend detects spikes. Four days ago, we had 18 cases. Then these went up and went down again to eight and back to zero and back again to six cases. We can’t say there is a second wave because they are small spikes,” she said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

She said they also expected the rise as businesses had been testing their employees due to the gradual opening of establishments and employees returning to their offices.

She said they are intensifying their testing, which they call “confidence-boosting testing,” to reassure the public that employees of companies, especially malls, do not have Covid-19.

Dargantes reminded the public that the decreasing number of cases and the relaxed quarantine level do not mean that Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is gone.

Julius Ceasar Entise, head of the City’s contact tracing team, said majority of the new patients were infected in the workplace. (WBS, JJL, KFD)