DOH marks 33 ‘priority areas’ over rising COVID-19 cases, high hospital occupancy
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday identified 33 “priority areas” due to growing COVID-19 infections and high to critical healthcare utilization rates (HCUR).
“We’d like to flag these 33 priority areas. These are priority areas because of continuous case increase as well as high to critical risk HCUR and ICU (intensive care unit) utilization rates,” Dr. Alethea De Guzman, OIC-Director of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, said in an online media forum.
The 33 priority areas and their respective COVID-19 data presented by De Guzman during the forum are as follows:
Based on the DOH data, those with high-risk classification for COVID-19 case trend and average daily attack rate (ADAR) in the previous two weeks are Naga City, Iloilo City, Capiz, Guimaras, Bacolod City, Negros Oriental, Tacloban City, Zamboanga Del Norte, Davao City, Davao Del Norte, South Cotabato, Lucena City, Butuan City, and Surigao del Sur.
The rest in the list are under moderate risk classification for COVID-19 case trend and ADAR.
ADAR is the average number of new cases per day over a two-week period, divided by the population of a concerned area. ADAR is considered high risk based on DOH guidelines if it is more than seven per 100,000 population.
Meanwhile, overall HCUR was at a critical level in Iloilo City and South Cotabato; and high risk in Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, Albay, Capiz, Guimaras, Bacolod City, Ormoc City, Tacloban City, Zamboanga del Norte, Cagayan de Oro City, Davao de Oro, Lucena City, Puerto Princesa City, and Butuan City.
ICU utilization is at critical risk in Cagayan, Bataan, Sorsogon, Iloilo City, Antique, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Norte, Davao City, Davao del Norte, General Santos City, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Cotabato City, and Makati City.
ICU utilization is at high risk in La Union, Nueva Vizcaya, Naga City, Tacloban City, Cagayan de Oro City, Bukidnon, South Cotabato, Lucena City, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Las Piñas City.
De Guzman said the capacities for HCUR and ICU beds in these areas should be increased.
“The challenge for our LGUs (local government units) is it may take them two to three weeks to push their case numbers down, and we know the challenges will base on increasing our reserve for health and critical care capacity,” she said.
“Kailangan madagdagan talaga ‘yung mga (There is really a need to augment) ICU beds and COVID beds to push our healthcare and ICU utilization rates down,” she added.
On the regional scale, all are at low to moderate HCUR, but Davao Region was at 86.73 percent ICU utilization and classified as under critical risk while Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas, Soccsksargen, and Northern Mindanao were under the high-risk classification for ICU utilization.
De Guzman also cited seven areas with low-risk classification for COVID-19 case trend but are already showing high to critical HCUR or ICU utilization.
These areas are Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga, Misamis Occidental, Oriental Mindoro, and Benguet.
De Guzman said the DOH is flagging these seven areas to trigger early preparation for HCUR and ICU beds in case there would be an increase in COVID-19 infections.
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