COVID-19 cases drop in Cebu, Batanes | Inquirer News
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COVID-19 cases drop in Cebu, Batanes

/ 05:00 AM October 23, 2021

FOLLOW PROTOCOLS Few vehicles ply the streets of downtown Cebu City this week amid calls from local officials not to be complacent even if theCOVID-19 cases in the city have dropped.—DALE ISRAEL

CEBU CITY — This premier city in southern Philippines, once the second COVID-19 epicenter in the country, has recorded its lowest daily positivity rate on Wednesday.

Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said on Friday that only 14 out of 1,039 individuals who underwent the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test on that day were positive for COVID-19. The daily positivity rate refers to the percentage of all COVID-19 tests that turned out positive for the virus.

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Aside from its low positivity rate, 31 of the city’s 80 villages have also not reported any COVID-19 transmission in the last 14 days.

Garganera appealed to Cebuanos to continue observing the health protocols to further bring down the number of coronavirus cases in the city and avoid what happened in August when the city saw its highest surge of COVID-19 cases, with hospitals’ capacity reaching critical level.

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He also asked Cebuanos not to let their guard down as “complacency is our No. 1 enemy.”

Garganera encouraged residents to have themselves vaccinated against COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity, which happens when 70 percent or a large part of the population of an area is immune to a specific disease.

Short of target

The city is targeting to vaccinate at least 700,000 of its 1 million population, but as of October 19, only 45.10 percent has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Let us all help our vaccination drive because we are far from our target. Christmas and New Year will be better if we are all inoculated,” he said.

The city government earlier announced it would raffle off a house and lot, a brand new car, and other prizes for fully vaccinated residents.

In the past 10 days, Cebu City has had 311 active virus cases. But the EOC said only 12 patients were left at the Cebu City Quarantine Center, 50 in the barangay isolation centers, and 46 in hotel isolation.

Department of Health records show that as of October 21, Cebu City has only 772 active cases out of the 40,915 infections it recorded since March last year. The city logged 1,462 deaths while the rest have recovered.

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Cebu City is currently under alert level 2, a less restrictive classification but which also requires only fully vaccinated employees inside establishments that are allowed to operate.

Below 200

In Batanes, only four towns in the country’s northernmost province have active COVID-19 cases, the number of which continued to drop in the last 15 days, local data showed. As of Thursday, Itbayat and Uyugan posted zero new infections.

Only four new patients were added to the province’s data on Wednesday, which raised to 194 its active cases. It was the first time the province’s active infections fell below 200 since peaking at 574 on October 6.

The capital town of Basco still has the highest number of active cases at 168, followed by Sabtang (13), Ivana (eight), and Mahatao (five). After registering only 17 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic struck last year, Batanes suddenly posted 100 new infections on September 20, which kept on rising until it started going down on October 15. The province has so far logged 902 cases, with five deaths.

While Batanes experienced fewer new infections, the provincial government said at least 75 percent or 9,506 eligible residents had already been fully vaccinated as of Monday. But the province aims to inoculate 12,609 residents to achieve herd immunity. —REPORTS FROM NESTLE SEMILLA AND NATHAN ALCANTARA

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