The increasing COVID-19 cases have impacted the healthcare system in the country particularly hospital admissions in the National Capital Region (NCR), with higher utilization of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, isolation beds, ward beds, and ventilators.
Citing DOH data, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr reported in a press briefing on August 17, 2021, that 72 percent of ICU beds in the NCR are currently utilized, while 59 percent of isolation beds, 63 percent of ward beds, and 50 percent of ventilators are utilized.
“Kaya nga po ang pakiusap natin kung moderate cases po yan o di naman kaya mild pumunta na lang po tayo sa ating mga Temporary Treatment at Monitoring Facilities (TTMFs). Mayroon din pong mga doctor din doon nang sa ganoon hindi po mapuno ang ating mga hospital ng mga kaso na pupwede naman pong magamot sa TTMFs,” said Secretary Roque.
The Palace official also noted, based on NCR DOH Hospital Census, that hospital admissions for COVID-19 increased across all levels of severity of disease from critical to asymptomatic cases, with the highest percentage increase seen in severe cases.
“Kung ikukumpara ang admissions noong July 15 hanggang August 15, tumaas ang critical cases ng 109 percent. Ang critical cases ay 14 percent ng current admissions,” said Sec. Roque.
For critical cases, total admissions increased by 182 percent, which comprised 26 percent of current hospital admissions, while admissions for moderate cases increased to 60 percent, which is 41 percent of current admissions, according to the DOH data.
Moreover, the same data showed that mild cases increased by 10 percent, which is nine percent of current admissions, while admissions for asymptomatic cases increased by 124 percent, which is also 9 percent of current admissions.
Meanwhile, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained in the same press briefing that pediatric vaccination is not recommended as of this time by experts as it may affect vaccine equity as many of the country’s eligible population have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Vergeire also mentioned that mortality and morbidity data across age groups do not support the urgency to promote vaccination of children at this time.
Instead, Vergeire said that the “cocoon” strategy that involves vaccinating the vulnerable adults in the household, and by strictly following the minimum public health standards, can also protect children and the general population.
On the issue of booster shots, Usec Vergeire pointed out that booster shots are not recommended at this time and that based on data and science, all of the vaccines that are currently in use are effective against any COVID-19 variants.
Also in the same press briefing, Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama emphasized the city’s strategy of parental-supervised household lockdown that gives parents or household elders the responsibility to impose lockdowns in homes. The same responsibility is given to leaders in a compound, village, sitio, barangays, as well as church and community organizations in organizing themselves and implementing measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Rama also mentioned about Cebu City’s Executive Order No. 137 or “Oplan Puyo”, which reinforces a heightened state of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine in Cebu City. Among the salient points in the said E.O is the imposition of a mandatory stay-at-home order during the effectivity of the Order, except for those permitted to leave their homes, as listed in the said E.O. ### OPS