Double-digit spike in COVID-19 cases alarms Iloilo City Hall

By Francis Allan L. Angelo


Double-digit spikes in new COVID-19 cases in the past three days prompted the Iloilo City government to postpone all forms of mass gathering and dine-in during the Dinagyang Food Festival.

The move was based on the Jan 15, 2021 recommendation of the Iloilo City Health Office (CHO) headed by Dr. Annabelle Tang and the COVID-19 Response Team under Dr. Roland Jay Fortuna.

The CHO noted that new cases reported on Jan 12-14, 2021 increased by as much as 700 percent against Dec 12-14, 2020.

On Dec 12, the city logged 3 cases against 15 cases a month after, or a 400 percent spike. Only 2 cases were reported on Dec 13 before increasing by 700 percent to 16 cases on Jan 13.

On Dec 14, the city reported 3 new cases and 14 new cases on Jan 14, or a 366.67 percent uptick.

But data from the City Hall indicated that from Jan 1-14, 2021, the city logged 109 new cases, which is 33.53 percent lower against 164 cases from Dec 1-14, 2020.

Mayor Jerry Treñas approved the recommendation “so we can focus on the cases and ensure that it will not continue to go up.”


“We have seen that cases in the city have increased in the last three days. The city has registered double digit number of COVID-19 cases from Jan. 12-14, compared to the single digits posted during the same period in December last year. Given this, the COVID team recommended for the postponement of any mass gathering for one week. Similarly, no dine-in will be allowed in relation to the Dinagyang Food Festival,” Treñas said via Facebook.


Jeck Conlu, spokesperson of the City COVID-19 team, said they already expected cases to surge after the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

Conlu noted that many locally stranded individuals and overseas Filipinos went home during the holidays.


“There were not many celebrations during Christmas, but we noticed many mass gatherings during New Year. And if you look at the data, spikes in cases happened two weeks after the celebration, which fits in the incubation period of the virus. Most of the new cases showed symptoms within that time frame,” he added.


Relatedly, most of the COVID-19 cases detected at the Department of Health regional office were residents of Iloilo City, which poses the possibility of community infection.

Conlu said the postponement of dine-in is only for Dinagyang-related events and does not cover restaurants that operate regularly.


“They can do take-out, but we will not allow the public to converge in Dinagyang food fest events. That is the new normal now.” (With a report from ERS)