Daily Baguio COVID-19 cases go down as city ramps up vaccinations

Frank Cimatu
Daily Baguio COVID-19 cases go down as city ramps up vaccinations

VACCINATIONS. Baguio senior citizens and healthcare frontliners have themselves inoculated against COVID19 at the University of Baguio gymnasium.

Mau Victa/Rappler

Part of Baguio City's improved COVID-19 outlook is due to an aggressive vaccination drive

From a daily average of nearly 106 cases daily in April, Baguio has seen the number of cases go down notably in the month of May.

According to the daily log of the City Health Service Office from May 1 to May 24, the average went down to around 63 cases daily. The only time the counter hit triple digits was on May 1, when the number of cases was at 107.

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said that, although the city’s epidemic risk level remained at moderate as of May 10, the city fared a little better in two indicators – the average daily attack rate (ADAR) or the proportion of the population that contracts the disease in a specified time, and the two-week growth rate (TWGR) which captures how quickly the number of cases changes every two weeks.

The city’s ADAR for May 3-10 decreased from 15% to 14.5% while its TWGR also dropped to -40%.

The Department of Health added Baguio was removed from the list of the top ten locations with the most number of cases in the country, being moved to 16th place.

From May 6 to 12, its daily average was 76, according to the DOH. From May 13 to 20, its average went down to 67.

Two deaths a day

Deaths from COVID-19, however, were another matter.

From May 1 to May 23, the number of COVID-19 related deaths in Baguio reached 46 – average of two a day.

The hospital care utilization rate also improved at 72.43%, placing it at a high-risk level from an earlier critical level, while isolation utilization was at low-risk level with 56.89% occupancy.

An aggressive vaccination drive

Part of the better COVID-19 outlook is the aggressive vaccination drive of the city.

The latest data showed 12,538 health workers (A1 priority list), or 96.05%, have been vaccinated with the first dose from a target population of 13,053. Some 6,799 (54.23%) have also received the second vaccine dose.

For senior citizens under the A2 priority list,  10,998 or 50.61% have been vaccinated for the first dose while only 18 (0.16% have gotten the second dose. The city has counted 21,732 senior citizens primed for vaccination.

On May 11, 12, and 14, a total of 1,668 senior citizens received their first dose of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, 10 people received a second dose of the vaccine earlier on May 10.

As to the brand used on senior citizens, AstraZeneca registered a total of 3,534 shots for first-dose use. There still is no recorded second dose for senior citizens for the Astrazeneca vaccine.

In total, the number of senior citizens vaccinated the first dose of Sinovac and Astrazeneca vaccines is at 5,202.

The latest statistics come from the Department of Health and the City Health Services Office (CHSO), including Physician Khecy Manuel-Colas, Risk Management Officer Cecil Agpawa ,as supervised by Rowena Galpo, head of the CHSO.

The city has four vaccination sites: the University of Baguio (UB) gym, the Saint Louis University (SLU) gym, the high school at Saint Louis School Inc. (Center), and the SM parking area.    

Coordination meetings are done after every vaccination session, with representatives from each site.

For the A3 priority or persons with comorbidities (18-59 years old), there are 6,500 target individuals, with 2,164 or 33.29% having gotten the first dose. 1,365 people, or 63.08%, have been immunized with the second dose.

There was also an overflow of Sinovac vaccines, as 15,639 were vaccinated for the first dose as against a projected 15,055 people, or a 103.88% accomplishment. Meanwhile, 7,746 got the second dose in a target population of 15,065.

As for AstraZeneca use among A3 priority individuals, 10,071 were vaccinated with their first dose out of 11,950 expected people. Some 436 received their second dose from a target population of 3,830.

Figures for the vaccinated population of the first three groups are being validated by personnel from the CHSO and the DOH.

Aiming for 60% inoculation by year’s end

The city, meanwhile, aims to inoculate 60% of its target population by the end of the year.

Magalong said rough projections showed the Summer Capital can achieve its target of immunizing 60% or more of its target population of 190,000 before the end of 2021, though this will depend on the supply of vaccines and other factors.

The mayor, however, is optimistic the city can complete its vaccine requirement by August through its own procurement program, alongside pledges from private groups and its allocation from the national government.

The city’s four vaccination sites have six teams per site; thus, each team would need to conduct 120 vaccination per day four times a week to achieve the target.

“If based solely on this calculation, then we can say it is doable, but as the mayor said, there are factors to consider. We will do our best to achieve our target,” Galpo said. –