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9月25日のまにら新聞から

DOH says increasing COVID-19 critical cases not cause for alarm

[ 550 words|2020.9.25|英字 (English) ]

The Department of Health assuaged on Thursday concerns about the spike of critical coronavirus disease cases in the country.

While Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega acknowledged the increase to over 3 percent of COVID-19 patients who have been critical, he said, "this is no cause for alarm."

"We are trying to validate and study this because the percentage point of critical cases suddenly increased, but if you will look at the ICU capacity, especially in Metro Manila, it's capable of handling surge cases this time," he said in a televised press briefing.

Based on the September 20 data, the DOH recorded that of the 286,743 COVID-19 cases in the country, with 51,894 active cases, the critical cases rose to 3.3 percent compared to 2.7 percent on September 17. As of September 23, the critical cases went down to 3 percent.

Despite the increase of critical cases, Vega said so far, occupied ICU beds nationwide is at 51 percent, while only 26 percent of ventilators have been used.

He also said that only 43 percent of the isolation centers and 46 percent of the wards have been occupied.

"But in Metro Manila, the ICU beds, 65 percent occupied, then the isolation, 54 percent, and 58 percent ward beds. So, only 39 percent of ventilators have been occupied," Vega said.

On the possibility to place Metro Manila under a less restrictive quarantine classification of modified general community quarantine, the DOH official said it would depend on the doubling time of the virus and the critical utilization rate of the hospitals.

"So, perhaps after this week, we will check if the matrix on critical care utilization goes down and if the doubling time of the virus exceeds at least 11 to 14 days," he said.

The government is set to announce the new quarantine classifications in the country on or before September 30.

Meanwhile, in the same televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque urged Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles to use his influence to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

He made the statement after the prelate reportedly told people not to wear face masks and instead just rely on their faith.

"To Bishop, Sir, I hope we speak to our roles in society," he said, stressing that the science and doctors have said that wearing of mask is effective in containing the spread of COVID-19.

"We hope that you will just use your influence in the society to help our country lessen COVID cases. Well, we encourage the wearing of face mask than discourage it," he said.

On reports that Ilocos Norte would not temporarily close the public and private cemeteries and memorial parks during the All Saints' and All Souls' Days to prevent mass gatherings, Roque warned that the local government officials would have to face the possible consequences of their act.

He said that the closure of the cemeteries from October 29 to November 4 was based on a resolution by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano was one among the officials who pushed for this.

The DILG has supervision over the LGUs in the country.

"The local officials should know the possible repercussions if they won't follow the directive of the IATF," Roque said. Celerina Monte/DMS