Davao Region starts to ‘flatten the curve’ – health officials

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 April) – Local health authorities here believe that the Davao Region is starting to “flatten the curve” after seeing more patients recovering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with no new confirmed cases reported over the past few days.

A huge signage along Davao City’s Diversion Road reminds the public to stay home under the city’s community quarantine guidelines on the coronavirus disease or COVID-19. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Department of Health (DOH)-Davao assistant regional director Lenny Joy Rivera said in a live presser that the region has reported more recoveries of COVID-19 patients than deaths after the 15-day enhanced community quarantine took effect last April 4 until April 19, suggesting that the number of COVID-19 cases is starting to taper off.

Data released by DOH-Davao showed that COVID-19 cases in the region remained at 90 while 52 patients have recovered as of April 13. Of the total cases, 74 are in Davao City, 9 in Davao del Norte, 2 in Davao del Sur, 2 in Davao de Oro, and 3 are in Davao Oriental. The province of Davao Occidental has remained free from COVID-19.

“If you look at the data, we can see it’s really decreasing as the days pass by, we see fewer patients and, at the same time, we have zero new cases on some days,” Rivera added,

Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) chief of hospital Leopoldo Vega said that Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, recorded 20 COVID-19 admissions on the third week of March, the highest since the outbreak reached the region, and saw the cases reaching a “plateau” after the enforcement of ECQ.

The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

He believed the recent figures suggest that COVID-19 has been finally put under control since there has been no surge in the number of new cases for the last two weeks while the region is faring well in patient recoveries.

“You’d notice that it’s flattening and reaching a plateau for several days right now or even weeks. I think we have to maintain this kind of intervention, like physical distancing,” he added.

Vega said health authorities are hoping to sustain the current trend, seeing more patient recoveries and no new surge in COVID-19 cases.

“I think, by that time, we can now say we did control the COVID-19. But we would just cannot put our guards down because there might be a second wave. We have to maintain some guarantees on how we behave and how we act in terms of COVID-19,” he said.

On the lifting of ECQ, Vega added that local chief executives might pursue a “gradual lifting” of the stricter quarantine measures if the current trend would be sustained.

He said that should the mayors lift the ECQ, the public must continue doing extra precautionary measures when going to the public such as wearing of facemasks, avoiding large crowds, and observing physical distancing.

“This should not be something very automatic. It means to say we have to make some kind of adjustments making sure there is physical distancing and avoid large crowds,” Vega said.

Rivera said health authorities would continue to assess if the region is ready for the lifting of the ECQ.

“We cannot actually say that it would be lifted immediately. It should be gradual and we need to study if the zero case (trend) would continue in the succeeding days. If we have zero today, we might have cases tomorrow. We need to observe before we open Davao again for entries of other people because we need to consider the status of COVID-19 of other regions,” she added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)