No need to prepare mass graves in Davao City

DAVAO CITY – There is no need to prepare for a mass grave in Davao City as the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) remains low amid the ongoing surge of infections, an official of the local COVID-19 Task Force said.

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, task force spokesperson, told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Friday that the data suggest that the current surge may not likely cause more deaths from Omicron, the fastest-spreading variant of COVID-19 as compared with rate of death reported in the previous surges caused by other known variants of the disease, particularly the Delta.

At the rate COVID-19 cases are growing, Schlosser said local health experts believe that it is already driven by the Omicron, characterized by a sharp rise in the number of cases over a short period of time.

Department of Health (DOH) reported 10 new cases of the Omicron variant in the region on January 27. The agency’s regional office has yet to release details on the latest cases of this variant, including their statuses.

To date, there are 15 Omicron cases in the region, including the fully recovered five cases who were previously reported last January 20.

Department of Health (DOH)-Davao reported 1,828 who died from COVID-19 as of January 27, or 37 deaths since the start of the year.

The agency reported 975 new cases on Thursday, which brought total cases to 66,552, with 9,973 active and 54,751 recovered.

“There is no preparation for a mass grave. If you notice, we have a high number of cases but data are showing that we only reported a few deaths compared with our surge before,” she said.

Last year, the local government of Davao prepared mass graves at the Tagakpan Public Cemetery in Tugbok District amid the surge of Delta cases.

Schlosser said the low mortality might have been due to the high vaccination rate.

The City Government of Davao reported that as of January 18, there are 1,276,123 individuals vaccinated with the first dose, 1,216,990 fully vaccinated, and 136,526 boosted.

According to the city government website, the city has 25 operational vaccination sites as of January 15.

She said anti-COVID-19 vaccines work against hospitalization, explaining that fully vaccinated individuals who experience breakthrough infections experience mild or no symptoms of the virus.

Schlosser said the local task force is prepared for the “worst scenario” in case the number of deaths will rise significantly.

“As much as possible, we would like to avoid death in any surge. If we will have another surge with another variant after this, we will try to avoid death. If we cannot avoid another surge, at least we will avoid death,” she said.

According to lone government-run hospital Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), 64 out of its 87 intensive care unit (ICU) beds have been occupied while its 422-ward bed for positive patients have been fully occupied.