DOH, OCTA monitor Visayas, Mindanao over increase in COVID-19 cases

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 13) — The Health Department is closely monitoring the Visayas and Mindanao due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

OCTA Research said provinces such as Negros Oriental, Leyte and Agusan del Norte are having a significant increase in new cases, while Iloilo, Cagayan, Misamis Oriental, Negros Oriental, and Agusan del Norte have high healthcare utilization rates.

"Ngayon naman we're averaging 6,500 (cases) — 27% of that is from NCR Plus. Malaki ang binaba sa NCR Plus. That means malaki talaga ‘yung tinaas ng cases outside NCR Plus. So, it's mostly where the increase is happening, or the spikes have happened all over the country. And ngayon, even Tacloban and even Dumaguete are having a sharp increase in cases," said Guido David of OCTA Research.

[Translation: Now, we're averaging 6,500 — 27% of that is from NCR Plus. NCR Plus showed a marked improvement. That means cases outside NCR Plus have risen significantly. So, it's mostly where the increase is happening, or the spikes have happened all over the country. And now, even Tacloban and even Dumaguete are having a sharp increase in cases.]

In areas like Iloilo City, they are still looking for more heathcare workers, such as nurses and nursing aides, for the city's isolation facilities.

According to Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas, the city has been under strict modified enhanced community quarantine for weeks now yet the number of COVID-19 cases have continued to rise.

Treñas says what the city needs is a regular supply of vaccines.

"Unfortunately, it is really the vaccines that we need. We need a steady supply of vaccines not only here for Iloilo City but also for Region 6 because if you look at the figures, it's really Region 6 where the cases are going up every day," says Treñas.

In Zamboanga City, the rise in the number of cases has slowed down. But hospitals are still having a hard time accommodating COVID-19 patients experiencing moderate to severe symptoms.

"We are still very careful about the hospitalization capacity. Our ICUs still have a high utilization rate. We tried to step up our quarantine efforts. There were times na napuno ang ating isolation facilities, napilitan mag-home quarantine ‘yung ibang nag-positibo," says Atty. Kenneth Beldua, Zamboanga City spokesperson.

[Translation: We are still very careful about the hospitalization capacity. Our ICUs still have a high utilization rate. We tried to step up our quarantine efforts. There were times when our isolation facilities became full, and others who tested positive were forced to go under home quarantine.]

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire made an assurance this weekend that the government will be allocating more vaccines to areas with a surge in cases.