Duque to LGUs: Strategize vs COVID-19 as cases outside Metro Manila rise
MANILA, Philippines — Local government units (LGUs) are reminded to use different strategies to beat COVID-19 as the Department of Health (DOH) sees cases rise outside of Metro Manila.
According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, while the country as a whole is now classified as “high-risk” from previously being at “critical-risk,” there are areas that are still classified as low to moderate risk, while other regions remain “high risk.”
Based on the DOH’s epidemic curve, the National Capital Region (NCR) and the other NCR Plus areas are seeing a sharp decrease in infections, while cases for the rest of Luzon are plateauing. In contrast, the curve for Visayas and Mindanao showed COVID-19 cases on an uptrend.
“‘Yong rest of Luzon nakikita po natin dito nag-umpisa na rin pong mag-plateau, hopefully ito bumaba na rin in the coming days. Pero ang inoobserbahan po nating maigi, ang binabantayan natin, ang Visayas and Mindanao ay pataas po ang mga kaso,” Duque said during President Rodrigo Duterte’s briefing on Monday night.
“So ginagabayan po natin ang mga regions natin, DOH, kasama ang mga DILG and local chief executives na talagang palawigin ‘yong kanilang healthcare capacity, paigtingin ang kanilang prevent, detect, isolate, treat, reintegrate, and vaccinate interventions,” he added.
In the graph presented by Duque, Bicol Region and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have registered a high-risk intensive care unit utilization rate, at 71.70 percent and 77.27 percent, respectively.
For NCR, the ICU utilization rate was only at 46.81 percent, while the capital region’s two-week growth rate went down to 65 percent.
The numbers prompted Duque to remind the public to employ measures to curb COVID-19 cases.
“Una, bantayan nating maigi ang ating case trends at hospital metrics upang makapagsagawa po tayo ng mga nararapat na solusyon. Pangalawa, i-udyok natin o hikayatin na madagdagan ang mga ospital na may mababang porsyento ng COVID-19 beds, at mag-augment ng mga kinakailangang resources,” he said.
“Ikatlo, agad nating i-refer ang mild at asymptomatic cases papunta sa mga stepdown facilities para hindi po mapuno at mabilaukan ang ating mga ospital na nararapat lamang ang mga severe and critical ang mapunta sa ating ospital,” he added.
Since the start of January, COVID-19 cases have risen exponentially, which experts and health authorities have attributed to the more transmissible Omicron variant.
However, active COVID-19 infections have started to decrease from a record 291,000, as DOH said on Monday that the country has 262,997 active COVID-19 cases.
The slightly lower active case count came as only 24,938 new cases were recorded, compared to the 35,461 patients who recovered.
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