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CHO: COVID-19 cases in the city rising

THE CITY Health Office (CHO) advised maintaining minimum health standards as COVID-19 cases in the city rose anew with 111 cases logged as of June 12.

CHO chief Dr. Tomas Miguel Ababon reported Thursday that cases have significantly increased from May’s 74 total.

According to the report, January recorded 272, which went down by 81% or 49 in February and further shrunk to 16 in March. The cases started to increase with 19 in April and 74 in May.

However, Ababon said there has been no evidence yet that the FliRT variant is behind the spike in cases. A new COVID strain that has the KP.1 and KP.2 variations are part of the newly discovered subvariants identified as FLiRT.  

“Flirt COVID, although it is a new variant, according to experts, it is not severe, it is likely the same as the usual flu,” he said.

Ababon attributed the increase to the continued surveillance of CHO, He stressed the number does not raise an alarm when compared to last year’s data.

CHO logged a total of 2,733 cases from January to June 2023, while there were 541 cases in the same period this year.

Ababon also reported 135 active COVID-19 cases, citing data from the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), 50 of these are asymptomatic, 69 mild, 15 moderate, and 1 critical case under intensive care unit.

He added that based on the data, unvaccinated individuals and those who have comorbidities are susceptible to the illness.

If COVID-19 cases in the city continue to increase, the permanent Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMF) in three districts will cater to the patients.

On top of the COVID-19 Cluster Clinics, the city government constructed the permanent TTMF in 2022 following the closing down of TTMF in various schools in the city in preparation for face-to-face classes.

The three TTMFs in the city are located at the Marilog District Hospital, Paquibato District Hospital, and at the Tibungco Lying-in (Bunawan District TTMF).

“If ever naay moabot na pandemic or epidemic that needs isolation, naa tay magamit,” he said.

He said that isolation was not applicable after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. issued Proclamation No. 297 on July 21, 2023, lifting the State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines due to COVID-19.

Ababon stressed there are no available vaccines in the city for those who did not get their jabs. Per the presidential proclamation in 2023, only the remaining vaccines should be exhausted, whereas the city stocks were exhausted in August last year.

According to a report from Inquirer, the Department of Health revealed there is no line item to procure vaccines in the 2024 budget, however, it said the House of Appropriations Committee on the last week of May said the agency could reallocate unused funds from 2023 continuing budget.

Amid the increase, CHO advised the public that proper wearing of face masks is optional except in hospitals and health facilities. It maintained avoiding crowded places is a must, and to better stay at home when going out is unnecessary. 

“Constant handwashing and personal hygiene are very important, bear in mind, ang kagaw dili makita, so protect yourself,” he added.


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