More health workers sought for Mindanao's new surge in COVID-19 cases

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
More health workers sought for Mindanao's new surge in COVID-19 cases
In this April 2020 photo, medical workers are seen screening patients for possible COVID-19 before admission at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The government should send more health workers to Mindanao to help respond to a surge in COVID-19 cases that could stretch to a month, OCTA Research said Wednesday.

Experts this week tagged five cities on the island as "areas of concern" particularly Davao City, which they said is now reporting the most number of daily infections in the country. 

In a Laging Handa briefing, OCTA fellow Ranjit Rye said measures should soon be rolled out to prevent medical facilities there from reaching full capacity. 

"Our call to the national government is to deploy more personnel," he said in Filipino, "and send equipment and other support to these areas especially those whose hospital system has a certainty or possibility of being overwhelmed."

Davao City, the president's hometown, was returned to Enhanced Community Quarantine until June 20 per local officials' request. Earlier today, health officials said they are monitoring the situation there but refused to say it is now a COVID-19 epicenter. 

Rye said the uptick in cases in the island is likely to last a month, with the number of infections still expected to grow in one to two weeks as the surge has yet to reach its peak.

As a result, he said government should put up field hospitals in Mindanao areas where hospitals are nearing maximum capacity. Rye sought to stress too that testing, tracing and isolation efforts on the island as well as in Western Visayas should be enhanced. 

"The important point is a surge needs to be dealt with in a timely and appropriate responses," he added. "And the best science is telling us we need to expand [and] improve capacity to detect and isolate."

In the National Capital Region, another OCTA fellow Guido David said a downward trend in COVID-19 infections has returned following a "slight reversal" in its trend last week.

Metro Manila was put under stricter lockdown in end-March along with Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan now known as the "NCR Plus" bubble. 

Authorities on June 9 said 5,462 more Filipinos across the country contracted the COVID-19, pushing the total to 1.28 million. 

Deaths have since reached 22,190, while recoveries have stood at 1.21 million.

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