DOH: ICU capacity in six regions outside NCR at ‘high risk’

By CNN Philippines Staff

While COVID-19 cases in NCR Plus are going down, infections and hospital admissions in six regions are rising, a Department of Health official said Saturday.

Zamboanga Peninsula, Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Caraga, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon fell under “high-risk” in terms of bed capacity in intensive care units for COVID-19 patients, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. This classification means the utilization rate is between 70% and 85%.

“Bagamat bumababa ang kaso dito sa NCR Plus…nakikita natin naman po ang pagtaas ng mga kaso dito po sa ilang bahagi ng ating bansa, pati na rin po ang paggamit ng kanilang mga ICU beds,” she told a briefing.

[Translation: While cases in the NCR Plus are decreasing, we are seeing an increase in infections in some other parts of our country, as well as their ICU bed use.]

ICU beds in the Zamboanga Peninsula were 79% utilized while those in Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Caraga, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon were 71% occupied, Vergeire reported.

“Kapag tiningnan ho natin, sila po lahat ay nasa high risk level po,” Vergeire said.

[Translation: If we take a look at them, they are all under the high-risk level.]

Variants of the coronavirus could be among the factors driving the increase in some regions outside Metro Manila, infectious diseases expert Benjamin Co told CNN Philippines’ The Final Word. 

He said movement from Metro Manila to other regions should be limited to address the increasing cases.

Vergeire earlier said two more transmissible variants have been detected in all cities and municipality in Metro Manila. These are the B.1.1.7, first detected in the United Kingdom, and the B.1.351, first discovered in South Africa.

Community transmission of variants in NCR?

Meanwhile, Vergeire said the DOH has not received an official notice from the World Health Organization after Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe – WHO’s representative to the Philippines – was quoted as saying in a report there is “some degree” of community transmission of the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants in the NCR Plus.

Community transmission means the source of infection can no longer be traced.

“We rely [on] and we request this help from the WHO so they can be able to analyze properly, at mabigyan po tayo ng (and we can be given) guidance kung talagang may (if there is already a) community transmission na nga dito sa ating bansa (in our country),” Vergeire added.

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