DOH uncertain if one-week ECQ extension enough to curb COVID infections

The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said they are not sure yet if the one-week extension imposed in and four nearby provinces would be enough to control the spike of COVID-19 cases in the country.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told Unang Balita that the COVID-19 situation would be evaluated every week.

“Linggu-linggo natin i-assess ang sitwasyon para makita natin kung ano ang next natin na classification base sa sitwasyon [We will assess the situation every week to determine our next classification],” Vergeire said.

The ECQ in Metro Plus (Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, and Cavite) was supposed to end on April 4 only, but it was extended until April 11.

Vergeire noted that in Metro Manila alone, the number of new COVID-19 cases is averaging more than 6,695 daily.

“We can see that the average number of cases per day has been increasing for these past weeks,” the official said, adding the positivity rate was also increasing.

The increase in positivity rate could be caused by the faster transmission of the virus and low testing capability, Vergeire said.

DOH uncertain if one-week ECQ extension enough to curb COVID infections

She also admitted that the COVID-19 surge now overcrowds hospitals, specifically ICUs.

She said that the DOH is looking for “appropriate facilities” for mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients to decongest hospitals.

The DOH is also working with local government units to determine if a patient should be hospitalized, quarantined in a facility, or just recover at home.

“Sa pamamaraang ito hindi natin mapupuno ang ating mga ospital [this way our hospitals will not be overcrowded with patients],” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, the OCTA Research group said Monday that the number of  in the Philippines could reach 1 million before the end of April.

According to the group’s monitoring report, while the transmission rate has slowed down in  due to the implementation of enhanced (ECQ), the number of cases still grew by 20% with 5,538 daily new cases over the past week.

“Before the end of April, the Philippines is expected to have recorded more than 1,000,000 total COVID-19 cases,” they said.