Forecast: Cebu could have up to 1,300 COVID-19 cases on May 15 if…

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital | May 01,2020 - 10:59 AM
Transfer of COVID-19 from a sitio in Mambaling to the Mamabaling Elementary School for isolation. | Photo Courtesy of Cebu City PIO

Transfer of COVID-19 from a sitio in Mambaling to the Mamabaling Elementary School for isolation. | Photo Courtesy of Cebu City PIO

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) projected that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Cebu could infect up to 1,300 individuals, and claim at least 50 lives.

“The forecast for May 15 for Cebu, assuming the ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) is implemented and will improve the situation, projects 1,300 total COVID-19 cases with 50 deaths,” scientists said in their latest policy paper titled COVID-19 Forecasts in the Philippines: Sub-National Models for NCR and other Selected Areas.

The report, published on April 30, 2020, aimed to provide decision-making bodies and local government units around the country insights on how to effectively respond to the coronavirus crisis.

It was penned by Guido David, Ranjit Singh Rye, Ma Patricia Agbulos, with contributions from Emmanuel Lallana and Erwin Alampay.

As of April 30, Cebu has now a total of 810 confirmed COVID-19 cases, bulk of which are from the province’s capital Cebu City. The island also recorded a total of 11 deaths and 31 recoveries.

Both the Cebu City Government and the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) attributed the rise to the massive testing being conducted here, which began around April 14 and April 15.

DOH-7, in addition, said congestion and closed settings in communities are huge factors in the virus’ transmission.

Analysis

Researchers reiterated that ECQ in Cebu must stay in place and be strictly implemented “until” the spread of the pandemic has been managed.”

Their suggestions stemmed from the analysis that showed a recent resurgence of cases in Cebu during the first week of April after the province has almost flattened its curve.

“The province was enjoying a flat curve until April 15 when new cases of COVID-19 started to appear,” the document said.

“This highlights again the importance of mass testing and available health facilities. If strict protocols are not put in place, any region or province is susceptible to an outbreak at any given time, as long as the SARS-Cov2 virus is still lingering,” it added.

They also advised for public officials and health authorities to hire more individuals qualified to carry out an ‘efficient and effective’ contact tracing system.

“Local governments play a critical role during a public health emergency. Strengthening local government units would include the use of digital technology to enhance the Community Based Monitoring System,” it added.

On the other hand, the group no longer recommends placing COVID-19 patients under home quarantine.

“Home quarantine might not work for everyone especially in informal settlements where staying indoors may be challenging. Provisions for food and other forms of social amelioration for the family during the quarantine period might be needed to ensure that they will observe restrictions in place,” the report said.

SARS-Cov2 or the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus 2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.

Virology experts claimed it’s a variant of SARS-COV, another strain of coronavirus that also caused the SARS outbreak in 2002 – 2003. /bmjo

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TAGS: 'enhanced community quarantine', COVID-19 forecast in Cebu, COVID-19 in Cebu City, University of the Philippines COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team, UP

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