BUKIDNON, Philippines – New COVID-19 cases in Davao City increased from 32 to 462 in just over a week, and it saw its first death due to the virus for 2022 on Monday, January 10.
In its regional daily case bulletin, the Department of Health (DOH) in the Davao Region logged 701 new cases with 427 asymptomatic people, 245 with mild symptoms, and 27 with severe symptoms. Two others were in critical care.
Davao City accounted for 462 of the 701 new cases in the region on Monday, much higher compared to January 2 when the city only logged 32 new infections.
Davao de Oro province recorded two deaths as of Sunday, January 9.
The region has registered 3,890 cumulative deaths and 105,120 cases since 2020.
The region’s intensive care units have reached 64.5% or 66 beds in use from its 186-bed capacity, while 38 of its 117 mechanical ventilators are also in use.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, in her weekly Special Hours radio program on Monday, said she was anticipating a surge.
“This is not yet the surge, but it’s getting there. We expect this could still shoot up in the days ahead. With this, our temporary treatment and monitoring facilities have been opened up and they are still at manageable levels as of today (January 10). Home isolation would only come in play when these TTMFs reach their 75% capacity or when the DOH says so,” said Duterte.
She said the city would utilize the TTMFs set up during the COVID-19 surge in 2021, but added that setting up more of these facilities would be unlikely due to the lack of health workers.
Duterte has pushed for massive vaccination in the city to lessen, if not prevent, deaths. She said data have shown that those who died or experienced severe symptoms were the unvaccinated.
As of Friday, January 7, Davao City has inoculated 1.173 million residents or 90.24% of its targeted 1,299,894 population.
The city has also fully inoculated 2,931 children and teenagers with comorbidities, 17 years old and younger, and 4,287 others were waiting for their second jabs. For those without comorbidities, 99,322 children were fully vaccinated while 120,515 received first doses.
Some 63,195 people have so far been given booster shots in Davao City.
Mayor Duterte also did not make good on her announcement in 2021 not to renew the city government’s unvaccinated casual or job-order workers. She said no law makes vaccination mandatory.
Instead, she ordered “counseling” for some 600 unvaccinated city hall workers.
“Why would we exclude them in the world when our government didn’t [order] compulsory vaccination for all?” she said.
As for establishments imposing a “no vaccination, no entry” policy, Duterte said she was leaving the matter up to business owners and managers.
“I also leave it to the heads of government agencies in the city to decide on the ‘no vaccine, no entry’ policy, but Davao City does not restrict or exclude the unvaccinated,” she said.
Police have started requiring travelers to show their vaccination cards at quarantine checkpoints in the Davao Region. – Rappler.com
Grace Cantal-Albasin is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.