BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) in Bacolod City closed its pediatric unit to new admissions, except for “extreme emergencies” on Saturday, January 15.
A notice on the hospital’s Facebook page said its COVID-19 pediatric ward was nearing full capacity due to an increase in the number of children admitted for possible infection.
At the same time non-COVID pediatric beds had also reached full capacity, the hospital added.
The announcement came as the average positivity rate from January 10 to 14 in Bacolod City, the center of Negros Occidental, hit 44.44%.
CLMMRH head, Dr. Julius Drilon provided Rappler with statistics for the Bacolod City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) and those samples from other areas of Negros Occidental.
The city’s daily positivity rate grew from 34.25% on January 10 to 63.49% on January 14, when more than six of ten persons tested were confirmed as COVID-19 cases.
The average positivity rate for the period was 44.44%, with 148 or 333 samples confirmed as infected with COVID-19.
The Department of Health in Western Visayas announced 83 new COVID-19 cases in Bacolod City and 143 in Negros Occidental on January 15. A day before, Bacolod had only 57 cases and the province, 74.
The city has fully vaccinated 94.5% of its total adult population but children, especially those below 12 years old, remained vulnerable as the national government has still to authorize a vaccine drive for them.
The CLMMRH’s other samples from the province had an average positivity rate of 14.49% for the same period, with the January 14 peak at 21.3%. That does not represent the whole province, which also has other molecular labs.
Brace for next week
City officials believe the current surge is linked to the more infectious Omicron variant although there is only one confirmed case in Bacolod.
Drilon warned the number of cases would surge next week due to the steady hike in all COVID-19 metrics.
The daily reports of the CLMMRH also showed a steady increase in the city’s average daily attack rate (ADAR), from 2.66 on January 10, 2.99 on January 11, 3.45 on January 12, and 4.28 on January 13.
ADAR is the number of new cases over the past 14 days per 100,000 population,
The city’s two-week growth rate rose from only 204% on January 7 to 330% on January 13.
Drilon said he expects a jump once the hospital’s analysts release the January 14 figure.
The national COVID-19 Interagency Task Force (IATF) placed the city under Alert Level 3 from January 14 to January 31.
The Department of Health in Western Visayas tagged Bacolod City on January as a high risk area for transmission.
Drilon expressed frustration about the national government loosening its focus on contact tracing.
“Test , Trace , Isolate, Quarentine , Vaccinate+Boost is the only way to break the chain of transmission and stop viral spread,” said the doctor.
Leaving potential patients to decide if they will have tests will mean greater numbers of infections in the coming weeks, he said.- Rappler.com