Health exec alarmed at possible Alert Level 4 status in some areas in Eastern Visayas
TACLOBAN CITY––A health official in Eastern Visayas raised the alarm at the possibility of more areas in the region being placed under Alert Level 4 due to increasing hospital bed utilization.
Northern Samar was classified under Alert Level 4, although its provincial health official objected to this, saying the current condition did not fit the metrics for such classification.
Dr. Marc Steven Capungcol, chief of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the Department of Health (DOH), said that among the areas in the region likely to be placed under Alert Level 4 were Biliran province and the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc.
Based on DOH data, these areas were experiencing high hospital bed utilization, which was among the conditions set for Alert Level 4 classification.
The DOH bulletin issued Monday, Jan. 24, shows that Biliran had the highest hospital bed utilization at 82.93%. This was followed by Ormoc City at 79.66% and Tacloban City at 78.65%.
Leyte’s hospital bed utilization rate is 63.94%, Samar with 56.59%, Southern Leyte at 47.71%, and Eastern Samar at 25.24%.
Eastern Visayas, at present, has hospital bed utilization at 59.79 percent or medium risk.
Capungcol said the increase in the hospitalization bed rate in these areas was due mainly to the confinement of asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19.
“Based on the data, there are many hospitals from these provinces that are still admitting asymptomatic and mild cases,” he said.
Capungcol urged the local governments to ask their COVID-19 patients, who have no symptoms or those considered mild cases, to isolate themselves.
Based on the DOH records, of the region’s 4,004 active COVID-19 cases, 69.11% of them are classified as having no symptoms, 30.69% as mild, 0.25% as severe, and zero as critical.
City Mayor Alfred Romualdez earlier appealed to his fellow local chief executives to manage their COVID-19 patients without symptoms at their respective localities to avoid crowding the hospitals in the city.
Romualdez said only severe and critical cases should be sent to hospitals in the city for medical and health care.
Dr. Ninfa Kam, health officer of Northern Samar, said they would appeal to the national pandemic task force to change the classification of the province to Alert Level 3 like the rest of the region.
For one, she said, their hospital bed utilization rate has not reached 85 to 100 percent and is just around 36 percent, which is considered “low risk.”
She added that their daily attack rate of COVID-19 is just 3.25 percent, which is even lower compared with Leyte’s 7.28 percent.
“We were surprised why Northern Samar was classified under Alert Level 4. That is why the provincial inter-agency task force will ask for consideration to reclassify us to Alert Level 3 just like the rest of the region,” Kam said in a radio interview.
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