COVID-19

PROTECTED Residents of Barangay M.V. Hechanova in Jaro District in Iloilo City get their COVID-19 vaccine shots at their village on Sept. 7. —PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ILOILO CITY MAYOR’S OFFICE

MANILA, Philippines — Cases of COVID-19 across regions in the country are on a downtrend while healthcare utilization rates are improving due to fewer infections in recent days, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.

Duque explained during President Rodrigo Duterte’s pre-recorded briefing late Monday night that the Department of Health (DOH) has observed that the better situation can not only be attributed to the government’s strategies but also due to the vaccination program.

“Una, nakikita natin na nagsisimula nang bumaba ang mga kaso sa mga rehiyon, habang nakakakita tayo ng unti-unting pagbuti sa ating pong healthcare at ICU utilization rates,” Duque told Duterte.

(First, we have seen that COVID-19 cases in the region have started going down, while we are seeing the gradual improvement of our healthcare and intensive care unit utilization rates.)

“Pangalawa, upang mas mapagbuti pa ang ating COVID-19 situation, patuloy ang aming panawagan na palakasin ang ating prevent, detect, isolate, treat, and reintegrate at ang ika-anim po na humahaligi sa ating tugon sa pandemyang COVID-19 ay ang pagbabakuna at lalong-lalo na ang pagpapa-iksi ng ating detection to isolation time,” he added.

(Second, to improve our COVID-19 situation, we continue to call for the strengthening of our prevent, detect, isolate, treat, and reintegrate — and our sixth strategy against the pandemic, which is to vaccinate the people and to shorten the time between the detection to isolation time.)

Duque then thanked local government units (LGUs) as they are responsible for the quicker detection to isolation turnaround — which is the shortened time between identifying who are the possible COVID-19 patients in an area and having them isolated to prevent clustering of infections.

Because of this, Duque said health authorities are able to cut off infections and prevent more people from getting sick.

“At dahil dito ay mas mabilis po na naia-isolate at naka-quarantine ang mga exposed, via aggressive contact tracing and efficient isolation and quarantine, and testing,” Duque said.

(And because of this, we can quickly place patients on isolation, and quarantine those exposed to COVID-19, through aggressive contact tracing and efficient isolation and quarantine, and testing.)

“So ito po ay kinakailangan para talagang ma-pigilan ang paghahawaan o maputol ang kadena ng hawaan ng COVID-19 at maiwasan ang pagkukumpol-kumpol ng kaso sa mga komunidad,” he added.

(So this is what we need to really stop the COVID-19 transmissions, to cut off the chain of infections and prevent possible clustering of cases within communities.)

COVID-19 cases in the country have started to decline across the country, almost two months since the surge spurred by the Delta variant.  As of Monday, the Department of Health (DOH) tallied 8,292 new infections, pushing the active COVID-19 case count to 98,894.

While the active case count is still high, the new patients have gone down significantly from the record-highs set in August and September — ballooning at one point to 26,303 last September 11.

READ: PH logs 8,292 new COVID-19 infections; total now at 2,674,814

READ: PH records highest COVID-19 case count at 26,303 — DOH

Earlier, President Duterte said almost 50 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and with 23 million individuals now fully vaccinated.  In terms of achieving herd immunity, almost 77 percent of residents are already fully vaccinated against the disease.

/MUF

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