Labella determined Cebu City will be downgraded to GCQ
Mayor says he has data showing city is ready for GCQ
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella is determined that the city will be downgraded from an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to a General Community Quarantine (GCQ), saying he has data to show that the city is ready for a GCQ.
In the letter of Labella to Central Visayas Regional Interagency Task Force (RIATF-7), the mayor pointed out that the supposed grounds of IATF to place the city under the ECQ no longer stands true.
The IATF stated that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the city doubled in 6.63 days or less than a week, which it considers high risk; that the city’s critical utilization rate as of June 14 stood at 60 mechanical ventilators (45 percent), 27 ICUs (100 percent), 399 isolation beds (90 percent), 133-bed wards (93 percent); that 61 out of 80 barangays are affected and with active cases; and that the city logged a testing positivity rate of 33 to 36 percent.
However, the mayor said the IATF did not consider that the city’s case fatality rate is 1.08 percent and while it is true that there were 3,613 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Cebu City as of June 15, only 1,716 are active cases as 1,874, or 51.87 percent, have recovered.
“The recoveries in the city outnumber active cases. Given such, Cebu City can be classified under GCQ,” Mayor Labella stressed.
He noted that Cebu City’s recovery rate is higher compared to the national average of 23.66 percent and its case fatality rate is lower compared to the national average of 4.16 percent.
According to data from the Department of Health, Cebu City recorded 2,319 confirmed cases at the start of June and this increased to 3,613 by June 15.
“This clearly shows that cases have not doubled in the last 15 days,” said the mayor.
The mayor also stressed that the report on critical utilization rate, which showed a high percentage of hospital bed occupancy, also did not include isolation facilities established and equipped by the city in cooperation with the private sector, the mayor pointed out.
As early as April 2020, the city was able to establish 52 Barangay Isolation Centers with a total bed capacity of almost 3,000.
The BICs were activated to accommodate asymptomatic patients whose situations do not allow for home quarantine such as in the case of informal settlers.
Mayor Labella admitted that both centers are underutilized but the city is working hand-in-hand with hospitals to facilitate the transfer of patients to the isolation facilities.
At the same time, the private hospitals have committed to expanding their Covid-19 regular and ICU bed capacities up to 30 percent of total regular and ICU bed capacity during a meeting with NTF Chief Implementor Sec. Charlie Galvez and Deputy Implementor Sec. Vince Dizon last Thursday, June 11.
Regarding the high number of barangays–61 out of 80–with Covid-19 infections, the mayor contends that the basis should not be cumulative cases but the remaining active cases and recoveries.
In the case of Barangay Mambaling, the total number of cases is at 693, but only 14 are active cases. Similarly, in Barangay Luz logged a total of 231 cases now only has 16 active cases.
“The good number of recoveries coupled with the very low case fatality rate illustrate the capacity of the City of Cebu in managing the situation. With the support of the national government and the private sectors, the City shall continuously endeavor to perform better to minimize Covid-19 transmissions,” Labella said in his letter.
The mayor hopes that the IATF will reconsider their decision and free the city’s constituents from suffering through the ECQ. /bmjo
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