Expert says Cebu’s COVID-19 situation less likely to end up like NCR
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in Cebu is relatively better than that of the National Capital Region (NCR) due to the coordinated efforts of all stakeholders in the community to keep the health care system in balance.
This was the statement of Doctor Bryan Lim, an infectious disease expert of the Visayas Community Medical Center, who has been actively helping as a consultant of the Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) here.
However, Dr. Lim warned the public that the island cannot be complacent because although the condition in Cebu is far from unstable with only a 31 percent bed occupancy rate among private hospitals, there is no guarantee that this situation would remain if the behavior of the public is left unmanaged.
The rise and fall of cases usually reflect the behavior of the public. When more people are complacent and have been going out or gathering privately, an increase in cases is expected.
The change of behavior follows immediately as characterized by better compliance once the public notices the increase in active cases, which then results in the eventual drop in the cases.
Still, the conditions have remained at a level where the health care system has been able to manage well amid fluctuation in cases.
This is due to the fact that the majority of the cases are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and they are separately isolated from those with moderate and severe symptoms.
The coordination between the EOCs and the private sectors is apparent with well-defined protocols that made contact tracing and extraction easier.
With hotels turning into isolation centers, hospitals increasing capacity, and businesses volunteering to disinfect and maintain health protocols, there is no reason that Cebu could become another NCR, stressed Lim.
“We should note that they also have the new variants, the UK, South African variants, which are more contagious,” said Lim.
Still, the infectious disease expert said that if the public becomes complacent and the local government units (LGU) begin to loosen monitoring, testing, and contact tracing, this would eventually provide a chance for the virus to spread again.
If the new variants should enter a complacent Cebu, then the island may well in fact see the same fate as NCR.
“This is a golden opportunity to vaccinate and target as many people as we can so that if the new variant comes, there will be fewer deaths,” he said.
The expert said there is no telling when the pandemic will end at least for Cebu, and he said people must adjust to the new normal that could stretch from more months to years.
The only contribution the public can make is to maintain the health protocols, get vaccinated when they have a chance, and strengthen their immune system. /rcg
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