Cebu City new COVID-19 epicenter — Galvez

Published June 29, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Martin Sadongdong

Cebu City has become the new epicenter of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines, replacing Metro Manila, due to the rapid increase in its number of infections, severe and critical cases, and deaths.


This was bared by Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19, in a Laging Handa press briefing on Monday.

Galvez’s statement affirms a similar pronouncement made earlier by Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, the vice chief implementer of the task force, in a television interview.

“Ang pinakamain focal point po natin is Cebu City considering the parameters and thresholds. The new cases are really increasing, even surpassing the whole NCR [National Capital Region], and the case of death mataas rin po. ‘Yung tinatawag nating recoveries ay malakas rin but yung Level 3 hospitals ay very limited (Our focal point now is Cebu City considering the parameters and thresholds. The new cases are really increasing, even surpassing the whole National Capital Region, and even the numbers of deaths is really high. The recovery rate is good but the Level 3 hospitals are very limited),” he said.

As of Sunday, the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 4,562 cases in Cebu City, the most among the cities and provinces across the country. It was followed by Quezon City with 3,161 cases; Manila with 2,290 cases; Cebu province with 1,036 cases; and Makati City with 961 cases.

Cebu City is also the area with the most number of new cases in the last 14 days by date of onset of the illness. It registered a total of 910 new cases, ahead of Cebu province with 407 cases; Quezon City with 364 cases; City of Manila with 280 cases; and Mandaue City with 238 cases.

“Nasurpass niya ‘yung level ng active cases ng 15 heavily urbanized cities, siya po ang pinakamataas (It surpassed the level of active cases in 15 other heavily urbanized cities, it has the highest case),” Galvez said.

“Sa critical care, ‘yung lahat ng hospitals halos napupuno po (In its critical care utilization, almost all hospitals are already full),” he added.

Cebu City also has 592 recoveries and 78 recorded deaths so far.

In terms of Level 3 hospitals, Cebu City only has seven facilities compared to Metro Manila’s 46, Galvez bared.

Level 3 hospitals are facilities equipped with isolation rooms at the emergency and in-patient departments, and are capable of managing infectious diseases, according to DOH.

At the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center alone, one of the four primary hospitals catering to COVID-19 patients in Cebu City, 46 patients out of the 122 deaths recorded so far died within 48 hours, Galvez said.

“‘Yung severe cases hindi nila nade-detect kaagad (They cannot detect right away the severe cases),” he noted.

Once the cases go undetected and untreated, there’s a possibility that majority of the patients would die before arriving at the hospital or have already become severe cases, he added.

According to the chief implementer, the situation in Cebu City could be compared to what Metro Manila experienced during the peak of its cases from March 24 to April

“We expect na itong surge ng peaking up ng new cases, we’ll look into magkaroon ng two to three weeks (We expect that this surge in the peaking of new cases will last within two to three weeks),” Galvez said.

He said the sudden rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Cebu City could be attributed to the poor implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) before.

To address this, Galvez said that aggressive testing is needed to identify those who are infected so they can be isolated right away from the communities.

Further, more “stringent” measures are still needed to contain the “alarming” situation in the city, appearing to foreshadow President Duterte’s decision on the fate of its community quarantine status after June 30.

Cebu City was reverted from general community quarantine to ECQ until the end of the month and Duterte is expected to announce the new community quarantine status in the country on Tuesday, June 30.

“We don’t want to preempt ‘yung pronouncement ni Presidente pero kailangan pa ng stringent restrictions (but stringent restrictions are still needed [in Cebu City]),” Galvez stated.

Read more: No more home quarantine for Cebu City COVID patients