Davao City records 1,197 COVID-19 cases in one day; highest since 2020

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 January) – Davao City recorded 1,197 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, its highest single-day increase since the pandemic hit the city in March 2020, thrice the previous day’s 354 new cases, according to statistics released by the Department of Health’s regional health office here. 

The January 19 new cases broke the highest single-day record of 712 on September 14, 2021. It is also the highest single-day increase recorded across Mindanao’s six regions. 

The city’s average daily attack rate (ADAR) from December 23 to January 5 was only 0.397 per 100,000 population, from 53,887 to 53,986 or only 99 new cases in two weeks. Between January 6 and 19, however, MindaNews computed the ADAR at 15.80 per 100,000 population, as the number of cases rose from 54,048 to 57,980 or 3,932 new cases in two weeks. 

The DOH classifies an area with an ADAR of less than 1 as low risk while areas with above 7 are high risk.  The city was “low risk” as of January 5 but by January 19, it had become “high risk.” 

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases placed Davao City under Alert Level 3 from January 14 to 31.  

The state-run Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) on Wednesday noon issued a public service announcement limiting admissions of non-COVID patients to “emergent and urgent conditions only.”

“Due to the rising COVID-19 cases and the quarantine/isolation of our health care workers, we would like to inform the public and our health care partners that we will be limiting our non-COVID emergency department admissions to emergent and urgent conditions only,” it said. 

Late last week, it announced the suspension effective January 17 of face-to-face consultations at the outpatient department (OPD) and elective surgeries due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

As more COVID-19 patients sought admission, the SPMC increased its ward and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds. 

From 60 ICU beds, SPMC added 27 more on January 17  to make it 87 as bed utilization rate breached the 50% mark on January 10 and steadily increased since then. As of January 18,  58 out of 87 ICU beds  or 66.67% were occupied. 

From 308 ward beds, SPMC added 41 more to make it 349 as of January 15 but took out three beds to make it 346 as of January 17. The bed utilization rate breached the 50% mark on January 12. As of January 18, 323 of 346 beds or 93.35% were occupied. 

The SPMC has not posted its January 19 statistics as of 9 a.m. on January 20. 

Highest single-day increase in region, too 

The Davao region also recorded its highest single-day increase since the pandemic started, at 1,428 new cases on January 19, breaking its 1,253 record on September 9, 2021. 

The Davao region comprises the five Davao provinces – de Oro, del Norte, del Sur, Occidental and Oriental – and the cities of Davao, Panabo, Tagum, Samal, Mati and Digos.  The region has a population of 5.24 million as of the May 2020 census, with Davao City accounting for 1.7 million. 

From a total of 104,467 cases on December 23 to 104,633 on January 5, the Davao region posted an ADAR of only 0.39 per 100,000 population but from January 6 to 19, the cases surged from 104,718 to 109,888 or an ADAR of 7.04 or “high risk.” 

On January 19, the region’s positivity rate reached 39.9% from results of RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) tests from all 14 laboratories in the region: 1,428 tested positive out of 3,577.  

On January 5, the region’s positivity rate was only 2% with 32 testing positive out of 1,607 who were tested, from results of 11 out of 14 laboratories in the region. On January 12, the region’s positivity rate was 14% from  results conducted in 13 of 14 laboratories: 335 out of 2399. 

The IATF on January 13 placed the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur under Alert Level 3 from January 16 to 31. 

The region’s death toll is now at 3,914 with Davao City accounting for  1,802.  

On January 1, the region recorded a total of 3,867 deaths, including Davao City’s 1,791.  Between January 1 and January 19, a total of 47 persons succumbed to COVID-19, 11 of that from Davao City. 

The DOH January 19 report posted on its Facebook page did not cite any reason behind the triple increase from January 18 to 19 in the city’s statistics. 

MindaNews sought DOH regional director Dr. Annabelle Yumang and City Health Office spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser for clarifications and asked if they were recommending a higher alert level but they have not responded as of 10 a.m. of January 20.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)