OCTA Research on Wednesday, June 9, said the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area, along with Davao City and Western Visayas, are considered "epidemic epicenters" due to the high daily average number of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
Dr. Guido David, a research fellow of OCTA, said Metro Manila is still averaging almost 1,000 COVID-19 cases per day, which means the NCR Plus region, consisting of Metro Manila, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, and Bulacan, is still the epidemic epicenter.
"Pero we could say na the corresponding increase in Mindanao areas depends on the definition ng perspective ng person on what the epicenter is. From our perspective yun nga we could say na it is also one of the epicenters ngayon along with Western Visayas. (But we could say that the corresponding increase in Mindanao areas depends on the definition of the person’s perspective on what the epicenter is. From our perspective we could say that Davao City is also one of the epicenters now along with Western Visayas)," David explained during the Laging Handa public briefing on Wednesday.
Not just in Davao City, OCTA said the increase in daily average cases is also a cause for concern in other areas, such as General Santos City, Cotabato City, Cagayan de Oro City, Zamboanga City, and Iloilo City.
"Sa Davao City hindi pa naman puno yung hospitals but the increase in cases is concerning because kailangan na mapabagal yung pagtaas ng kaso otherwise we might see some hospitals partly to become full. (In Davao City, the hospitals are not full yet but the increase in cases is concerning because it needs to be slowed down otherwise we might see some hospitals partly to become full)," David pointed out.
OCTA Research fellow Prof. Ranjit Rye reiterated the need to improve testing, tracing and isolation in these areas.
"Kailangang iimprove furthermore ang testing, tracing, and isolation lalo na sa mga hotspots na ‘to not just in Davao even in Western Visayas, in some parts of Mindanao. (Testing, tracing, and isolation needs to be further improved especially in hotspot areas, not just in Davao, but also in Western Visayas and some parts of Mindanao). The important point is as surge needs to be dealt with timely and appropriate responses)," Rye said.
"Ensure na meron tayong isolation capacity para hindi mapuno yung mga hospital natin with mild cases. Yan ang sitwasyon ngayon sa Davao, Cagayan de Oro City, Zamboanga, Iloilo. (Ensure that we have isolation capacity so that our hospitals are not filled with mild cases. That is the situation now in Davao, Cagayan de Oro City, Zamboanga, Iloilo)," he added.
Rye noted that Iloilo, in particular, is in a "very dire" situation as hospital utilization is at 83 percent, while ICU or intensive care unit occupancy is at 97 percent.
"It is in the midst of becoming overwhelmed. Ang panawagan namin sa national government magpadala na tayo ng tao diyan, magpadala na ng equipment, magpadala na tayo ng suporta dito sa mga lugar na ‘to. (Our call to the national government is to send people there, to send equipment, to send support to these areas)," he said.
"Dapat ready ang national government to put up field hospitals in areas where the hospital capacity is about to be overwhelmed. (The national government must be ready to put up field hospitals in areas where hospital capacity is about to be overwhelmed)," he added.
Citing historical data, OCTA said the surge in areas outside Metro Manila may last at least a month.
"Usually mga at least one month inaabot yung surge sa isang locality. For example Cebu City and NCR, it took us about two months for the surge to contain it. For a smaller LGU usually one month at least pero sometimes it could take up to two months even with heightened restrictions. (Usually, the surge lasts for at least one month in a locality. For example, Cebu City and NCR took us about two months to contain the surge. For a smaller LGU usually one month at least but sometimes it could take up to two months even with heightened restrictions)," David explained.
"Itong surge na ‘to while we are hypothesizing its driven by the more contagious variants that have been spreading around the country, we hope, sana, that hospital care, critical care will be provided para kung may magkakasakit, wala ng mamamatay. (This surge, while we are hypothesizing it's driven by the more contagious variants that have been spreading around the country, we hope that hospital and critical care will be provided so that if someone gets sick, no one will die)," Rye said.