No Signs of Stopping: 6 emerging COVID-19 hotspots being monitored in the PH

Health Secretary Francisco Duque in a previous hospital visit. <i>Photo: Department of Health </i>
Health Secretary Francisco Duque in a previous hospital visit. Photo: Department of Health

The Department of Health (DOH) said that it is closely monitoring six emerging coronavirus hotspots in the Philippines to make sure that their respective health systems won’t be overwhelmed by the surge in cases.

Cebu City and the rest of Cebu Province, Ormoc City, Southern Leyte, Leyte, and Samar–all of which collectively accounted for 5,305 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday–appear to be the new epicentres of the pandemic, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosarie Vergeire in yesterday’s virtual presser.

“There are not that many cases yet in the said areas but we are seeing that their rate of increase is faster compared to other areas, which is why the national government has provided assistance to suppress the spread of the virus,” Vergeire said in English and Filipino.

Vergeire said that they have sent medical equipment to Cebu province to ramp up its testing capacity. The DOH also ordered the local governments in the aforementioned places to strictly implement public health standards, with the help of the national COVID-19 task force.

Read: ‘Too Complacent’: Duterte blames Cebuanos’ overconfidence for rising COVID-19 cases

Vergeire said that the continued rise in cases can be attributed to the eased lockdowns and the reopening of the country, but she claimed that the daily number of cases had already “stabilized” because the increase in cases was “gradual.”

“This means that our current health system is able to cope with the rise in the number of cases,” the health official said.

Earlier this week, President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that Cebuanos’ complacency and overconfidence led to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the province. The president brought Cebu City back to the stricter enhanced community quarantine from the general community quarantine on June 16 following a spike in cases. In addition, quarantine passes, which allowed residents to leave their homes to buy essential supplies, were revoked throughout the city.

Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año in a briefing today said that it has ordered the construction of more isolation facilities to prevent the spread of the virus. The facilities will house health workers so that they can avoid going home and possibly transmitting the disease to their families.

The country’s total confirmed cases as of yesterday stood at 32,295, with 1,204 deaths, and 8,656 recoveries.

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