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Gwen: We’re managing COVID-19 outbreak

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | January 29,2021 - 08:27 PM

Gwen: We’re managing COVID-19 outbreak

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia says in a press briefing that the COVID-19 situation in the province remains manageable and that her administration’s priority is reviving the economy. | CDN Digital – Morexette Marie Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Another local official in Cebu reassured the public that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak here, is manageable.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, on Friday, January 29, disagreed with the findings from experts that the rising number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Cebu has become a ‘serious concern’.

She is referring to the study by OCTA Research which pointed out that the reproduction rate of COVID infections in the entire island of Cebu is higher than in the entire Philippines.

Garcia also accused a scientist who is part of the study of singling out Cebu.

“It’s not the entire group. It’s just one person whose name is prominently shown… I just wonder why he singled out Cebu. It’s because he did not take into consideration the population here,” said Garcia in Cebuano.

Garcia, however, did not mention any name but alluded that the individual had a hand in the Dengvaxia mess that erupted in 2018.

In the meantime, the governor assured the public that health authorities all over the province have the COVID-19 situation under control.

“We’re managing it, and our local officials know how to handle it. We have enough isolation centers and the occupancy rate is only at 20 percent. Hospital beds are ready with occupancy rate around 20 to 25 percent,” Garcia explained.

She added that the healthcare industry, as far as Cebu province is concerned, has not been overwhelmed yet and that the Capitol will be prioritizing economic recovery.

“We are not overwhelmed. We are dealing with it. I’m more concerned about how devastated the economy is,” said Garcia.

In its Philippine COVID-19 report dated January 28, 2021, researchers from OCTA Research Group highlighted that the entire island-province of Cebu, including its three largest cities – Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu –  has become an area of ‘serious concern’ after discovering that its reproduction number reached 1.57.

“The reproduction number in Cebu province over the past week was 1.57, much higher than the reproduction number for the entire Philippines, which was 0.96,” portions of the report stated.

Contributors of the study were Guido David, Ranjit Rye, Nicanor Austriaco, Ma Patricia Agbulos, Erwin Alampay, Eero Rosini Brillantes, Benjamin Co, Bernhard Egworlf, Franco Felizarta, Troy Gepte, Bryan Albert Lim, Rodrigo Angelo Ong, Michael Tee and Benjamin Vallejo Jr.

They added that if no measures will be implemented to address the spike in cases, Cebu’s healthcare system could, once again, suffer.

“While the attack rate of Cebu was still below the high-risk cutoff, the significant increase in new cases, if unmitigated, could pose challenges to the healthcare system of the province,” they stated.

It can be recalled that Cebu City was reverted back to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last June 2020 when it experienced rapid transmission of the virus that resulted in overwhelmed hospitals.

“The last time Cebu was placed under ECQ, the province averaged 400 new cases per day. This number could be reached in two weeks if trends are not reversed,” OCTA said.

Garcia has been vocal on her plans to prioritize reviving the province’s economy.

“We have to move on and forward. We have to accept the truth that the disease is here, and let’s aspire on how to manage COVID-19,” she added.

Data from the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) showed that Cebu province, as of January 28, has 614 active COVID-19 cases. /rcg

RELATED STORY: Experts: Cebu an ‘area of serious concern’ due to rise in COVID cases

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TAGS: Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia, Cebu province, COVID-19, COVID-19 in Cebu, OCTA research

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