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Galvez endorses mayorsâ plea for more jabs outside NCR+8
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.
OPAPP/Released, file

Galvez endorses mayors’ plea for more jabs outside NCR+8

Gilbert Bayoran (The Philippine Star) - June 10, 2021 - 12:00am

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. has endorsed a request of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) to include other high-risk areas in the priority recipients of COVID-19 vaccines.

Galvez, in his letter to LCP national president and Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, said he endorsed the request to the National Vaccine Operations Center for evaluation and appropriate action.

The LCP previously appealed for the inclusion of more areas as priority recipients of COVID vaccines, given the surge in cases in other localities outside NCR Plus 8, which consists of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.

Galvez expressed belief that vaccinating more segments of the population is needed to stem further cases.

Bacolod City recently received 17,000 Sinovac doses from the Department of Health (DOH).

Galvez assured Leonardia that enough doses would be given to inoculate 100 percent of Bacolod’s adult population and that the vaccines would be delivered in accordance with the law.

Stopped

The DOH said vaccination in some areas have stopped temporarily due to speedy inoculation and supply shortage.

Napoleon Arevalo, chief of the DOH-Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, said there are some local government units (LGUs) that were quick in their vaccination.

At the same time, there is still scarcity of vaccine supply, prompting some LGUs to stop their inoculation activities.

Arevalo said they expect the inoculation to resume once the concerned LGUs’ supply of COVID jabs is replenished.

It was not immediately known which LGUs have halted vaccination.

Meanwhile, the OCTA Research Group urged the government to support LGUs in the Visayas and Mindanao that are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.

OCTA fellow Ranjit Rye said during the Laging Handa briefing that the government must be ready to put up field hospitals in areas where hospital capacity is full or about to be overwhelmed.

Rye cited the case of Iloilo, which reached the critical threshold for hospital bed (83 percent) and intensive care unit utilization (97 percent) this week.

“The important point is, a surge needs to be dealt with timely and appropriate responses. The best science is telling us: we need to expand and improve our capacity to detect and isolate,” Rye said.

“Our call to the national government, let us send people, let us send equipment, let us send support to these areas, especially those that have a possibility that their hospital system is being overwhelmed,” he said in Filipino.

Rye recognized efforts of LGUs to respond to the surge of new cases, citing stricter quarantine classifications and the expansion of testing and isolation capacities.

In the case of Davao City, which overtook Quezon City in terms of average daily new cases in the past week, Rye noted that the city is still safe in terms of hospital and ICU bed utilization, which is at 53 percent and 66 percent, respectively.

Emerging epicenters

At the same briefing, OCTA fellow Guido David said Davao City and Western Visayas could be seen as emerging epicenters due to the recent increase in cases.

“We would say the NCR is still averaging almost 1,000 cases per day, so the epicenter is still at NCR Plus. But we could say that there is a corresponding increase in Mindanao areas,” he said.

“It depends on the definition and perspective of the person on what the epicenter is. From our perspective, we could say that it is also one of the epicenters right now, along with Western Visayas,” he added.

In its latest report, OCTA said Davao City has recorded an average of 213 new cases per day from June 1 to 7, up 44 percent from the average of 147 daily in the preceding week.

Quezon City, meanwhile, ranked second with an average of 207 new cases, down 27 percent from the 283 recorded in the preceding week.

Davao City had an average daily attack rate (ADAR) of 11.71 infections per 100,000 population, above the high-risk threshold of 10 infections per 100,000.

Eleven other areas, all outside Metro Manila, were also identified as LGUs of concern due to rising new cases, high ADAR and high hospital or ICU bed utilization rates.

These include Cagayan de Oro with an average of 118 new cases per day (down 11 percent), Bacolod with 112 (up 26 percent), Iloilo City with 111 (up six percent), General Santos with 72 (up five percent), Tuguegarao with 63 (down 16 percent) and Butuan with 57 (up two percent).

Other LGUs identified as areas of concern were Koronadal in South Cotabato with an average of 57 new cases per day in the past week (up 124 percent), Dumaguete with 56 (up 195 percent), Cotabato City with 46 (up 51 percent), Batangas City with 41 (down 11 percent) and Roxas City in Capiz with 33 (up 55 percent).

Some LGUs that recorded a decrease in new cases were still identified as areas of concern due to other factors, such as the high ADAR in Tuguegarao (38.39 infections per 100,000) and high hospital utilization at Cagayan de Oro (80 percent) and Batangas City (70 percent). – Janvic Mateo, Sheila Crisostomo

CARLITO GALVEZ JR. COVID-19
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