By Joseph B.A. Marzan
Recent rises in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the city and province of Iloilo, Guimaras, and Bacolod City escalated Region 6 to High-Risk status, according to the Department of Health-Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-WV CHD) on Monday.
DOH-WV CHD data as of August 29, 2021 indicated that the region logged 103,260 cases (12,163 active, 88,636 recovered, and 2,437 dead).
The region’s High-Risk status was based on its 2-Week Growth Rate (2WGR) of 15 percent and Average Daily Attack Rate (ADAR) of 8.10.
Based on risk status, Guimaras, Iloilo province, Bacolod City, and Iloilo City are under High Risk, while Aklan, Capiz, and Negros Occidental are under Moderate Risk, and Antique under Low Risk.
The 2WGR refers to the 14-day percentage change in the number of new cases reported, while the ADAR refers to the number of new cases reported daily per 100,000 population of an area.
The region’s current numbers are based on new cases reported from Aug. 13 to 26 (8,968), higher than those reported on July 30 to Aug. 12 (7,765) and July 16 to 29 (8,216).
By 2WGR, Guimaras posted the biggest growth in new cases reported daily (113 percent), followed by Iloilo province (65 percent), Iloilo City and Bacolod City (27 percent each), Negros Occidental (18 percent), Capiz (7 percent), Antique (-26 percent), and Aklan (-50 percent).
Based on ADAR, Iloilo City reported the most number of new cases (20.17), followed by Guimaras (14.93), Iloilo province (13.38), Aklan (10.05), Bacolod City (7.82), Antique (6.97), Capiz (5.54), and Negros Occidental (1.90).
The region’s Health Care Utilization Rate (HCUR), which refers to the usage of COVID-dedicated beds and mechanical ventilators, is on moderate level at 61.73 percent.
Guimaras has the highest HCUR in the region (93.22 percent), followed by Iloilo City (76.27 percent), Iloilo province (72.20 percent), Antique (63.80 perent), Capiz (51.10 percent), Negros Occidental (51.07 percent), Bacolod City (46.33 percent), and Aklan (30.95 percent).
The region also logged 420 COVID Variants of Concern (VOC) or Variant of Interest (VOI), which include 109 Alpha cases (B.1.1.7), 110 Beta cases (B.1.351), 123 Delta cases (B.1.617.2), 1 Gamma (P.1), 1 Lambda (C.37), and 76 Theta (P.3).
Iloilo province has the most VOC/VOI cases with 131 (35 Alpha, 48 Beta, 35 Delta, 1 Gamma, and 12 Theta).
VOC/VOI cases in other areas are:
- Antique (35 Alpha, 6 Beta, 24 Delta, and 2 Theta);
- Iloilo City with 55 (13 Alpha, 12 Beta, 18 Delta, and 12 Theta);
- Bacolod City with 51 (3 Alpha, 5 Beta, 10 Delta, and 33 Theta);
- Negros Occidental with 49 (11 Alpha, 16 Beta, 8 Delta, 1 Lambda, and 13 Theta);
- Aklan with 29 (1 Alpha, 4 Beta, 21 Delta, and 3 Theta);
- Capiz with 20 (2 Alpha, 12 Beta and 6 Delta); and
- Guimaras with 18 (9 Alpha, 7 Beta, 1 Delta, and 1 Theta).
DOH-WV CHD’s designated spokesperson, Dr. Bea Camille Natalaray, said during an online press briefing that there was still no confirmed indication of local or community transmission of VOC and VOI cases.
As of this writing, the regional office and local government units (LGUs) are still waiting on phylogenetic analysis from the Philippine Genome Center in Diliman to find the source and link between the identified variant cases.
“Until now, our [Regional Epidemiological Surveillance Unit] is still waiting on investigation on whether or not the [variant] cases may be linked to one another or not, so we can conclude that there would be local transmission,” Natalaray said.
Based on the 2WGR, ADAR, HCUR, and the presence of VOC/VOI cases, the region is currently under Alert Level 3.
Aklan, Capiz, Negros Occidental, and Bacolod City are also under the same level.
Guimaras and the city and province of Iloilo are all under Level 4, while Antique is under Level 2.
Natalaray said following minimum public health standards (wearing of masks, physical distancing, and washing of hands) remain the primary practice to prevent spread of COVID-19.
She cited workplaces and community gatherings as the sources of the increase in COVID-19 cases as well as the in COVID hospitalizations.
“Our sources of [COVID] cases are in workplaces and community gatherings, so there are unnecessary superspreader events in our localities, so our [LGUs] should look into that as well,” Natalaray said.