DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 April)—The Department of Health (DOH)-Davao reported on Wednesday that there is a “slight increase” in the number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVD-19) cases in the region with a positivity rate of 12.2 percent.
Dr. Rachel Joy Pasion, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of DOH-Davao, said during a press briefing that the agency is closely monitoring the COVID-19 cases, most of them manifesting mild symptoms only.
The positivity rate, she noted, is way above the acceptable positivity rate set by the World Health Organization of 5 percent.
She said an increase was noted for the month of March with a total of 803 cases from 454 cases reported in February. From April 1 to 10, a total of 296 cases were recorded.
However, a 1.32-percent decline was seen in the weekly data of DOH-Davao between March 27-April 2 and April 3-9, Pasion said.
As of April 10, there were a total of 358 active cases. Out of this total, 208 were reported in Davao City, 53 in Davao de Oro, 37 in Davao Oriental, 27 in Davao del Sur, 21 in Davao del Norte, and 12 in Davao Occidental.
The increase could have been caused by the recent activities during Araw ng Dabaw in March, Pasion noted.
An advisory dated April 11 released by Regional Director Annabelle Yumang alerted that there “is a compelling need for hospitals to prepare for the possibility of surge, especially with the recent long holiday in celebration of the Holy Week, in which family and public gatherings were expected.”
It also reminded hospitals of Administrative Order No. 2021-0042 issued August 31, 2021 or the Guidelines for COVID-19 Response, mandating “all government and private hospitals to allocate at least 30 percent and 20 percent of their current authorized bed capacity, respectively, to accommodate and service COVID-19 patients.”
Dr. Gerna Manatad, DOH-Davao assistant regional director, said that the situation is manageable, assuring the public that the current facilities for COVID-19 patients in the region are sufficient and not overburdened.
“We are at a very much controlled number of cases,” she said.
Manatad said the utilization rate for the health care facilities devoted for confirmed COVID-19 cases and symptomatic patients is still at moderate-risk.
A data released by DOH-Davao showed that 33 out of 51 mechanical ventilators are used while 251 out of 635 non-ICU beds and 58 out of 129 ICU beds are occupied.
Manatad said the agency has prompted other private hospitals to open up COVID-19 beds in the event cases continue to rise.
She explained that the positivity rate might have appeared high because of the changes in the testing protocols of DOH-Davao.
Manatad urged the public to keep observing the minimum health standards, particularly the physical distancing and mask in crowded and enclosed spaces, and to avail of the free vaccination to get an additional layer of protection against the disease.
Pasion said that only those patients who are symptomatic and immunocompromised would be swabbed while the asymptomatic close-contacts don’t need to undergo reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
She said that at least 248 samples are being processed daily. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)