Cebu City sees slight rise in COVID-19 active cases

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | January 05,2022 - 05:16 PM

A mall at the South Road Properties (SRP) starts welcoming children more than a year after threats of COVID-19 forced establishments to bar them from entry. Cebu City is under Alert Level 2, in which minors aged 18 years and below are allowed in public places. | via Morexette Marie Erram

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City is seeing a slight rise in COVID-19 active cases in the past days with 43 active cases as of January 5, 2022, from the less than ten active cases three days prior.

Councilor Joel Garganera, the deputy chief implementor of the EOC, said that this slight increase in cases is incomparable to the previous surges when the cases reached over 4,000, but it is concerning, nonetheless, he said, especially with the threat of the Omicron variant.

The positivity rate has remained low at 4.25 percent on January 5, which is still within the safe threshold of the World Health Organization. This percentage is due to the 22 new cases out of over 500 individuals tested on the same batch.

Although the COVID-19 situation in the city is relatively stable as compared to the past, Garganera said they are now preparing for the possibility that the rising cases may cause the need for more isolation centers, hospital beds, and other pandemic responses.

Currently, there are only two barangay isolation centers (BICs) in the city, the City Central School and the Zapatera Public Elementary School, both of which have been recently energized but still do not have stable water supply.

The city government is providing water directly to these BICs. Should these BICs fill up, the city will need to open another one.

These are just one of many challenges the EOC is facing with the city’s COVID-19 situation following the aftermath of Typhoon Odette.

“Isolation facilities have no power and water, facilities are partially destroyed by typhoon. Medical volunteers for teleconsultation will be fewer since many still do not have electricity and the internet is unstable. Health workers have gone home to their province. Some haven’t come back to Cebu,” said the councilor.

Garganera also notes that there are many potential areas for outbreaks because of the long lines in water refilling stations, groceries, automated teller machines (ATMs), banks, and charging stations.

Most of all, many residents are staying in evacuation centers causing people to live in crowds within these limited spaces, a huge risk for outbreaks of any disease not only COVID-19.

“We also have other diseases and potential outbreaks post-typhoon, diarrhea, dengue, typhoid, and others. We have to map all these,” said Garganera.

The councilor is urging the City Health Department (CHD) to also monitor these issues.

Mayor Michael Rama said he will be releasing a new directive for the city residents on the threat of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19.

Although the directive has not yet been released publicly, Rama said there will definitely be movement restrictions at some point, especially for unvaccinated individuals.

“We may have to disallow for the meantime nga mosulod sa malls, ang mga bata ug kanang mga non-vaccinated. We also wish to mobilize our vaccination,” said Rama.

He also wants the hospitals, BICs, and other facilities to be prepared in case another surge will occur in the coming weeks.

The NOAH Complex in the South Road Properties (SRP) may be transformed into an isolation center again if needed.

It has also been suggested that inbound travelers from abroad and Alert Level 3 areas will need to present negative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test or antigen test results upon entering the city. The final guidelines may be released this week.

Rama said that the city will prepare for the threat of the Omicron variant because it cannot afford another devastation following the typhoon.       /rcg

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TAGS: Cebu City, Councilor Joel Garganera, COVID-19, EOC, hospital beds, isolation centers, Omicron variant, pandemic responses, rise in COVID-19 cases

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