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COVID-19 WATCH

Surge in critical cases probed

Gabbie Parlade

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The Department of Health (DoH) on Thursday disclosed that it will be looking into the sudden increase in the number of reported critical cases in the country.

This came after a tallied surge in percentage was noticed from initially being at 0.3 percent to rising into around three percent in the past weeks.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said they were also surprised by the growth of cases but noted that as of now investigation on the matter is still ongoing.

He said that all data especially from local government units are being reviewed as critical care units in Metro Manila are seen to be at a stabilized level.

“We’re validating that now in all of our critical care units, intensive care units because here in Metro Manila as you can see there is adequate critical care beds and it’s not yet strained so we’re also trying to find out what were the reasons behind the increase of the percentage point, he said in a briefing.

“In fact, our regional directors and surveillance are looking at the number of critical patients in private and public hospitals to validate,” he added.

But Vega assured that the increase is now cause for alarm as all operations are now focused at making sure that the national health system will not be overwhelmed.

As of the current statistics from the DoH, the critical care utilization rate nationwide lies between 51 percent to 43 percent in the beds dedicated for isolation, ward, and intensive care units while the use of ventilators is only at 26 percent.

On the other hand, Metro Manila — the epicenter of the virus in the country — has an occupancy rate in its critical units beds ranging from 65 percent to 54 percent as 39 percent of the ventilators are utilized.

Vega also stressed that ideally if more relaxed protocols under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) will be pushed, the critical care utilization rate should be at least lower than 60 percent.

This is to make sure that the health system will be able to accommodate patients should there be a surge of cases.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Philippines has tallied over 294,000 cases of COVID-19 where Metro Manila at 156,889 still has the highest number of infections among regions.

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