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Pediatric cases on an upswing

Convocar expressed hope that the scenario in August 2020 where health workers called for a timeout following the high number of Covid cases, will not happen again

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While minors are now being infected with Covid-19, most of these are only mild cases. (Edicute Inc. image)

Family clustering of infection alarms expert

The Philippine College of Emergency Medicine (PCEM) on Sunday said that more minors are now being infected with coronavirus disease amid the family clustering of Covid-19 and the alarming increase in the cases in the country.

In a radio interview, PCEM president and Emergency Medicine Specialist Dr. Pauline Convocar confirmed that all hospitals in the country are now experiencing a surge in the number of patients being admitted as well as the family clustering of Covid-19 cases.

“While before, what we are counting are only individual cases but now we noticed that many families are going to the hospitals for consultation,” Convocar said.

“I don’t have the numbers but there are reports on the ground that they are also seeing pediatric cases. We need to investigate that particular area where those infected with the virus are extreme ages, from pediatrics to the elderly,” she added.

Convocar pointed out however that while minors are now being infected with Covid-19, most of these are only mild cases.

“It is understandable since families are in one household, so they may be infected together and not all warrants admission. Those being admitted are the elderly with moderate to severe cases,” she said.

At the same time, Convocar expressed hope that the scenario in August 2020 where health workers called for a timeout following the high number of Covid cases, will not happen again.

“I really hope that we will not reach that point to call another timeout because we cannot afford another timeout. I hope we learned from the surge that happened last year since we are entering our one year of the pandemic. I am confident that we learned how to manage our resources,” she said.

Observe protocols

Convocar called on the public to observe the necessary minimum health standards to prevent the continued increase in the number of Covid cases.

“The tents which are not being used before, are now again being utilized because of the number of cases and the floors from other wards are now again converted for Covid cases but we have to understand it’s not just a question of beds, it is also a question of having health care workers, nurses to attend to those beds,” she noted.

Convocar explained that in the absence of enough medical health workers, patients are being treated in the emergency rooms.

“During the past two weeks, patients stay longer in the emergency rooms due to unavailability of rooms,” she said.

According to her, the threat of the virus is still there despite the rollout of the vaccines against the virus.

“Our warning is although we now have the vaccine, it doesn’t mean that the virus is no longer there. We still need to follow the minimum health standards,” Convocar stressed.

No MECQ

Meanwhile, Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez on Sunday ruled out the possible return of the country to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) or enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) amid the increasing number of Covid-19 in the country, particularly in Metro Manila.

In a press conference after leading the symbolic vaccine rollout in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Galvez assured that the government is closely monitoring the sharp hike in the number of Covid cases.

“We are still reviewing our next step but our main strategy here is the granular lockdown as we cannot anymore, sustain the prolonged lockdown as it will really contract our economy. We really need to move forward and invest more on the minimum health standard,” he said.

Galvez added that the prior to the arrival of the vaccines, the government has been saying that the jabs will only serve as added protection.

“What we have been saying is we will implement the vaccine plus, meaning vaccine is just an added protection but we should not forget that prevention, detection, isolation and reintegration strategy should also be there,” he added.

The Department of Health (DoH) has been reporting more than 3,000 Covid cases in the past days and hospitals in Metro Manila also noted an increase in the number of patients being admitted because of the virus.

“We are trying to compensate that with the deployment of the vaccines with most of the affected areas. This is the reason why, we deployed vaccines here because we noticed an increase in the NCR, Region VII and Region IV-A, particularly here in Sta. Rosa, and areas considered as economic hub in Southern Luzon,” Galvez said.

He added that for at least 300 doses of Sinovac vaccines and 150 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines were given to Qualimed Hospital Network in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. It is also the first hospital outside Metro Manila to receive the AstraZeneca vaccines.

According to Galvez, the government is averaging at least 10,000 to 15,000 per day in its vaccine rollout.

“We only started with six primary hospitals, now we covered at least 100 hospitals and even Basilan and Palawan already received the vaccine. We are ensuring the equitable distribution of the vaccines from Covid referral hospitals, and then government hospitals, DoH hospitals, LGU hospitals and the private hospitals,” he added.

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