DOH calls on public to remain vigilant despite dip in COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2021   •   230

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reminded the public to remain on alert despite the declining number of COVID-19 cases being recorded in the Philippines.

The DOH issued the reminder amid a dip in fresh coronavirus infections reported daily.

On Thursday, the country logged 10,019 new COVID-19 cases while the past few days saw over 9,000 new infections. The DOH earlier said that the lower case count was due to lower laboratory output.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency is analyzing all factors, including the decrease in laboratory outputs, and test outputs resulting in lower positivity rate and fewer hospital admissions, to determine whether the drop in case count is artificial or not.

“We got all the factors, we identified all the factors, and we tried to analyze kung talagang kumpirmado po that the decline of cases is not affected by any other factor at ito po ay totoong pagbaba ng kaso,” Vergeire said in a press briefing.

She, however, stressed that decreasing cases is not a sign for the public to become complacent.

“Alalahanin po natin na bagama’t bumababa ang mga kaso, ang atin pong mga ospital ay meron pa rin pong pagkapuno,” she said.

“Although, 68% lang ICU utilization natin ngayon, kailangan pa ring mapag-ingatan, patuloy na mapababa, at madecongest ang mga ospital so that we can be able to move on and open up some sectors again in our economy,” she added.

Vergeire also noted that the lower laboratory outputs are due to the use of antigen tests.

She also reminded the public that antigen test kits are only used in specific circumstances in order to get accurate results.

“Katulad po noong mga paggamit natin sa ngayon, kailangan din alalahanin natin ‘pag gumamit tayo, kailangan nari-report po natin sa mga kinauukulan para naisasama po natin at makumpleto natin ang datos natin,” she said.

“So if ever this will be given regulatory clearance by the Food and Drug Administration, ito po ay masasama doon sa modalities pero kailangan may guidelines po na ipapatupad so that we can also regulate the use,” she added.

The DOH earlier said that the use of antigen test is most effective for people who already manifested symptoms within the first five days of their onset as the viral load of the patient is at the highest during this time.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for COVID-19 response previously said that the number of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 through rapid antigen tests will be included in the Philippines’ case count.

The task force also directed the DOH NCR Center for Health Development to monitor and facilitate registration of facilities using rapid antigen kits and ensure that antigen line tests are collected and consolidated from health facilities, localities, as well as temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.

PH administers over 5 million jabs in first 2 days of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   December 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – More than 5 million individuals have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the first two days of the government’s three-day vaccination campaign, an official from the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

“Ang running total natin ay 5,000,353,” DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said when asked for an update on the output of the nationwide vaccination drive, dubbed as “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” program.

The campaign, which started on Monday, aims to inoculate at least nine million Filipinos until Wednesday.

“We are still hopeful na ma-meet natin iyong 9 million target. But just in case we will be unable to reach it, this record is already high,” Cabotaje said.

On the first day of the campaign, authorities were able to administer a total of 2,708,018 vaccine doses while 2,292,335 jabs were given on the second day as of 6 a.m.

Cabotaje said this number is expected to increase as more data come in.

“May nagsasabi na nakatulong ang holiday (Nov. 30) kasi they were able to go to the vaccination sites. Pero may mga feedback din na they worked because it was double-pay,” she said when asked about output on Tuesday, which was a regular holiday for Bonifacio Day.

“And there were some problems because they were not accommodated during the vaccination time. May mga bakuna centers na nagsara nang mas maaga,” she added.

The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 earlier said the vaccination drive from November 29 to December 1 will only be the first leg of the program, which is focused on scaling up the inoculation rate of local government units for the first vaccine dose by covering up to 70% of their target populations.

Another round of nationwide vaccinations will be held from December 15 to 17, which will focus on ramping up the number of fully vaccinated individuals to achieve the government’s target of fully vaccinating at least 54 million Filipinos by year-end.

The Philippines rolled out its vaccination drive against COVID-19 last March for priority sectors.

Philippines logs 425 new COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Tuesday recorded 425 new cases of COVID-19, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed.

The latest figure pushed the country’s total caseload to 2,832,734, the DOH said.

Around 0.6% or 15,800 of this number are active cases – 47.5% are mild, 5.3% are asymptomatic, 24.42% are moderate, 16.0% are severe, and 6.8% are in critical condition.

COVID-19 related deaths increased to 48,545 with 44 new fatalities.

Total recoveries rose to 2,768,389 after 909 more patients recovered from the viral disease.

The positivity rate was at 2.1% based on results of samples from 24,442 individuals tested on November 28.

Two accredited testing laboratories were not operational last Sunday while four others failed to submit data on time, the DOH noted.

The ICU bed utilization rate nationwide was at 26% while 25% in the National Capital Region.

Pagpapatupad ng mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, nakasalalay sa Kongreso – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Nakasalalay sa Kongreso ang pagbalangkas ng batas kung gagawing sapilitan sa bansa ang pagpapabakuna kontra COVID-19.

Ito ang naging pahayag ng Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) matapos sabihin ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na payag siyang gawing mandatory ang COVID-19 vaccination sa Pilipinas sa harap ng banta ng bagong COVID-19 variant na Omicron.

Ayon kay acting Presidential Spokesperson at Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, wala sa kapangyarihan ng IATF na pilitin ang publiko na tumanggap ng COVID-19 vaccine.

“Kailangan po ng batas, mas magiging… mas magkakaroon ng mandatory enforcement kapag meron pong batas mula sa Congress at mapirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte, so it is up to congress to feel the need kung kinakailangan magkaroon ng batas to make it mandatory,” ani Nograles.

“As far as IATF is concerned, patuloy pa rin po ang ating pagmi-meeting tungkol d’yan at paguusap namin sa proposal na yan,” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, iiminungkahi naman ni Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año na higpitan na lamang ang mga polisiya para sa mga hindi pa bakunado upang maengganyo ang mas marami pang Pilipino na magpabakuna.

Aniya, may kapangyarihan naman ang mga alkalde na maglabas ng kautusan o ordinansa para makumbinse ang kanilang mga constituent na magpaturok na ng COVID-19 vaccine.

“Hindi natin ima-mandatory but at least, we’ll make it harder for them to live while there’s a pandemic. It’s because of mutations, kung hindi ma-achieve ang herd immunity,” ani Año. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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