DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 07 September) – “Unusually high volume of patients needing admission for COVID-19” was how the state-run Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) described their situation in its public service announcement in the early hours of Saturday, September 4. By evening, the Department of Health (DOH) regional office reported Davao City logged 498 new cases out of the region’s 1,031 – the highest single-day increases across Mindanao’s 27 provinces and 33 cities since March last year.
On Sunday morning, an unusual sight greeted motorists passing by the emergency section of the SPMC: at least four ER (emergency room) wheeled stretchers were parked on the street just outside the SPMC’s main ER. They had to be moved outside to allow for additional space inside for patients awaiting their turn to be attended to.
From the road, one could see a health worker fully garbed in PPE (personal protective equipment) performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a patient at the ER’s entrance area at around 9:15 a.m.
By Sunday evening, the DOH-Davao reported yet another record-breaking statistics: Davao City posted 586 new cases out of the region’s 1,123.
The SPMC has increased its COVID-19 ward beds four times since August 18: from 427 to 432 to 448 to 475 and on Sunday, to 496. The number of ICU (intensive care unit) beds has remained at 92 for a combined total of 588 COVID beds as of September 5.
SPMC records show that 85 out of the 92 ICU beds and 490 of the 496 beds were occupied as of Sunday but on Monday, it was 92 of 92 ICU beds and 496 of 496 ward beds. For ward beds, from August 29 to September 1, the record was 448 of 448 ward beds occupied and from September 2 to 4, 475 out of 475 ward beds. For the 92 ICU beds from August 29 to September 4, occupancy was 100% except for August 31 and September 4 but both above 90%.
The waitlist for admission is not only at the SPMC but in private hospitals.
MindaNews has been following up on the status of the city government’s temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMF) since Saturday but has not received a response. But a number of COVID-19 positives said they were told the TTMFs are full as well.
(UPDATE AS OF 10:28 a.m. — A report of the City Information Office posted on the Facebook page of the city government at 10:10 a.m. Tuesday said the city’s TTMF has a 65 per cent utilization. It said the city has 3,084 COVID-19 beds, 2,500 of these “TTMF/isolation beds.” The mayor, it said, had noted that this is expected to be filled up depending on the turnover of cases. “Every day, we still look for facilities na pwede natong iopen for TTMFs (that we can open for TTMFs),” and 250 more TTMF beds are currently being set up, the report quoted the mayor as saying)
Two offices in the city were placed under total lockdown starting Monday as several employees tested positive for COVID-19: the City Assessor’s Office from September 6 to 10 and the Hall of Justice from September 6 to 17.
The Redemptorists’ Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish along Bajada announced through its social media page that as a precautionary measure, they are “suspending voluntarily all public services of our Church starting September 6, 2021 until further notice.” It posted the schedule of its livestreamed masses.
Review recommendation for ECQ
In her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) on Monday, Mayor Sara Duterte said recommendations for a shift to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from the present status of General Community Quarantine (GCQ) have to be reviewed. She asked the health cluster to review their criteria for recommending ECQ, using the same parameters from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
On Monday, Davao City breached the 40,000 mark in total number of cases since March last year with 40,347, of which 6,881 are active, 32,214 are recoveries and 1,252 are deaths.
In Davao Oriental province, the local chief executives of its 10 towns and one city unanimously agreed on shifting from General Community Quarantine (GCQ) to a 14-day ECQ on September 8 to 21.
The Provincial Information Office quoted Dr. Reden Bersaldo, Provincial Task Force on COVID-19 action officer, as saying the ECQ would be implemented to allow the province’s health care sector time to recuperate and to focus on the recovery and treatment of the existing active cases.
Davao Oriental recorded a total of 11 confirmed Delta variant cases out of the Davao region’s 58 as of September 6, with Davao City posting the highest at 21, Davao del Norte with 10, Davao Occidental with nine, Davao del Sur with five, and Davao de Oro with two. These numbers represent only those whose specimens were sent to the Philippine Genome Center in the University of the Philippines in Diliman for whole genome sequencing and were confirmed to be infected with the Delta variant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had declared Tuesday last week that the dominant variant in the country now is the Delta variant and that community transmission has already been happening.
First 6 days of September
The Davao region on September 6 recorded a total of 74,359 cases, 14,903 of these classified as active, 57,156 recoveries and 2,300 deaths.
Davao City accounts for more than half of the regional total: 40,347 or 54.3% of the regional total. Of this number, 6,881 are active cases (46.2% of regional total), 32,214 are recoveries (56.4% of regional total) and 1,252 are deaths (54.4% of the regional total).
In the first six days of September, the Davao region’s new cases increased by 4,500 from 69,859 on September 1 to 74,359 on September 6. Davao City accounted for 2,237 of the regional total, from 38,110 on September 1 to 40,347.
In the two-week period from August 24 to September 6, the Davao region logged 10,512 new cases, out of which Davao City posted 5,289. The average daily attack rate for the region is at 14.32 per 100,000 population and 21.26 in Davao City, both classified under “high risk” classification. An ADAR of less than one means low risk, 1 to 7 is moderate.
In August, the Davao region recorded 14,069 new cases from 54,818 on August 1 to 68,887 on August 31.
Davao City accounted for 6,980 new cases from 30,690 on August 1 to 37,670 on August 31; Davao del Sur accounted for 2,155 new cases from 4637 on August 1 to 6,792 on August 31; Davao del Norte with 1,855 new cases from 10,507 on August 1 to 12,362 on August 31; Davao Oriental with 1,736 new cases from 3,629 on August 1 to 5,365 on August 31; Davao Occidental with 884 new cases from 1,035 on August 1 to 1,919 on August 31; and Davao de Oro with 514 new cases from 4,265 on August 1 to 4,779 on August 31. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)