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COVID-19 hospitalization rate on the rise in 6 areas, says DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said it is monitoring the increase in hospital admissions in six areas in the country due to COVID-19.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that four of the areas are in the National Capital Region (NCR), one in Calabarzon, and one in Northern Mindanao.

She explained that the rise in hospitalization rate amid the increase in of COVID-19 infections in the past weeks, could be attributed to several factors.

“Maaring nagbaba ng number ng COVID beds, maari ring ang pumapasok na admissions natin ay mild and asymptomatic, maari rin naman na pagka sa ICU (intensive care unit) ang gamit, maaaring pumasok na iba ang kondisyon pero kapag nagpa-test for screening, biglang lumalabas na positibo sila,” she said.

(It is possible that the number of COVID beds in hospitals has been decreased, the admissions are only mild and asymptomatic, or the patients entered the ICU with a different condition but turned out positive for COVID when they get tested for screening.)

Based on DOH’s data on Monday, there were 554 severe and critical cases admitted in hospitals due to COVID-19.

A total of 385 or 14.6% of the 2,636 ICU beds were also occupied, while 4,033 or 18.2% of the 22,156 non-ICU COVID-19 beds were in use.

Despite this, Vergeire answered in affirmative when asked if the Health department is prepared should the hospital admissions continue to increase due to the viral disease.

“Handa po tayo. We have been prepared and we have experienced this kind of pagtaas ng kaso in the past. In our hospitals, our local governments, alam na po nila ang kanilang gagawin sa ganito,” she said.

(We are ready. We have been prepared and we have experienced this kind of increase in COVID-19 cases in the past. Our hospitals and local governments already know what they will do in this kind of situation.)

Higher COVID-19 cases?

Further, Vergeire also floated the possibility that there might be a higher number of COVID-19 cases in the country than those reported by the DOH due to lack of testing.

“Talagang inaasahan natin na talagang hindi po kumpleto ang ating pumapasok na datos dahil alam po natin na baka marami sa ating kababayan ang hindi na nagpapa-test and they just isolate themselves kapag may sintomas. ‘Yung iba naman po, they use the rapid antigen test to detect kung meron silang sakit o wala,” she said.

“Bagamat hindi natin nakukuha ang lahat ng reports ngayon, we have this estimate kung ilan ‘yung hindi natin nakukuha at kasama po ‘yan sa projections natin para nakapagplano tayo and we can prepare,” she added.

(We really expect that our data is incomplete because we know that many people no longer get tested and they just isolate themselves when they experience symptoms. Others also just use the rapid antigen test to detect if they have the disease or not… Although we are not getting all the reports now, we have this estimate of how many of the COVID-19 cases we are not recording based on our projections so we could plan and prepare.)

The Philippines recorded a total of 3,051 new COVID-19 cases from June 13 to June 19, 2022, a 82% higher tally than the cases reported the previous week.

OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said a “weak surge” in COVID-19 cases has started, considering that the seven-day average of new cases in the NCR increased to 212 from June 13 to 19 or 84% higher than the previous week.

David on Tuesday said NCR’s growth rate of COVID-19 cases has further increased to 72%, but its hospital utilization rate remains “low” at 22%.

With the lingering threats of COVID-19 and its variants and sub variants, Vergeire continuously advised the public to remain vigilant and observe the minimum public health standards, including the wearing of face masks, and getting oneself vaccinated and boosted against the virus.—Giselle Ombay/LDF, GMA News