The Health Agency reports 8,355 new cases today, as the data for testing during the Holy Week are released. The data announced today were from testing done during the Holy Week (with some testing centers closed for the long holiday). Note that the number of tests done in the past few days are less than optimum, with the positivity rate at more than 20 percent for the past week. With the more than 8,000 new cases today, the Philippines has now breached the 800,000 mark.
The healthcare capacity, in spite hospitals opening additional beds is at a critical high with 79 percent ICU capacity and 72 percent isolation bed capacity in the National Capital Region. Notice, however, that the ICU beds in the Philippines has increased as well. It is now at 61 percent from a previous 51 percent occupancy in mid March, nationally.
The OCTA Monitoring Report showed that the reproduction number in the NCR had declined from 1.88 to 1.61 after one week of ECQ. The goal of a lockdown is meant to slow down the increase in new cases. With an additional week of strict ECQ, we can hopefully bring down the Rt to 1.0 (or anywhere near it).
The average number of new COVID-19 cases reported per day in the NCR was 5,538 over the past week, an increase of 20 percent compared to the previous week. The NCR as a whole is now on a period where the increase in new COVID-19 cases is slowing down. The moving average trend lines have started to level off.OCTA Research Monitoring Report, Philippine COVID-19 Update, April 5, 2021
The table below show significant increases in the provinces of Laguna, Batangas and Pampanga. Only the province of Cebu has seen a significant decrease in daily new cases. In terms of ICU capacity, all top ten provinces are past the 70 percent critical level except for Batangas (65 percent) and Cebu (23 percent). Only Cebu has a positivity rate less than 10 percent for testing. All other provinces in the top 10 have a positivity rate ranging from 17-38 percent!
The top twenty LGUs with highest cases are in the table below. Makati and Pasay were the only LGUs that saw a negative change (decline) in daily new cases. Attack rates were highest, however, with Makati, Navotas, Mandaluyong and San Juan. Hospital bed occupancy is at critical levels in 15 of the 20 top LGUs. ICU occupancy is at critical levels in 14 of the top 20 LGUs in the list. Taguig, Mandaluyong, Antipolo, Imus and Cainta are at 100 percent ICU occupancy as of this writing.
What makes it difficult for ICU occupancy is the management of critically ill COVID-19 patients. They occupy ventilators longer and are managed in the intensive care for a significantly longer duration than nonCOVID patients. In addition, they also add to the challenge of healthcare worker manpower in the hospitals. When HCWs are infected because of the hazard from being exposed to ill patients, the healthcare system becomes overwhelmed and the quality of care becomes compromised during these difficult times.
The government should work at efforts at alleviating the burden of caring for mild (and some moderately ill) patients in hospitals by creating more isolation facilities dedicated to COVID19 cases alone. The healthcare staff caring for COVID19 patients should receive better pay and additional personal and health hazard benefits because of the antecedent risks when caring for patients with COVID.
Todays data showed NCR, CALABARZON, CAR, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon grab the spotlight with 87 percent of the total cases for the day. Other regions with triple digits were: Ilocos Region, Western Visayas and Central Visayas. There were 40 cases with no tagged location on a regional level.
In the National Capital Region, where 46 percent of the total cases for today were from, Quezon City continued to dominate the numbers with close to one-third of the cases for Mega Manila. City of Manila had 423 cases. Those with more than 100 cases were: Taguig, Pasig, Makati, Parañaque, Caloocan, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, and Valenzuela.
Thirteen of 17 LGUs in NCR were among the top 20 cities with most cases.
On a provincial level, Cavite and Isabela ruled the day. Cebu is no longer in the top 10 provinces. All the top ten provinces are found in Luzon.