COVID-19

Davao City reverted to GCQ until November 30

Pia Ranada

HOTSPOT. Disinfection takes place in Davao City in March 2020.

The Octa Research Group has flagged Davao City as a hotspot, reporting an alarming 84% hospital occupancy and rising daily attack rates

The national government has placed President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown of Davao City back to the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) classification, effective “immediately,” Malacañang announced on Friday, November 20.

“The City of Davao is placed under General Community Quarantine effective immediately until November 30, 2020, following the rise of COVID-19 cases in the city,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.

From November 1 to 14, the Octa Research Group reported an alarming 84% hospital occupancy in Davao City, the urban hub of the Davao region.

To address this, the government said a One Hospital Command Center will be established in the city.

Private hospitals have also been ordered to increase their COVID-19 ward bed occupancy by at least 20% to 30%, said Roque.

Melquiades Feliciano, Deputy Chief Implementer of the National Task Force vs COVID-19 for Bacolod and Cebu cities, has been tapped to help Davao City.

Specifically, he was assigned to head the Coordinated Operations to Defeat the Epidemic (CODE) teams that will be sent to Davao City to “assist in the response activities,” said Roque.

CODE teams go to barangays with high COVID-19 infections where they conduct house-to-house visits to make sure coronavirus cases and their close contacts are isolated and swab-tested.

They also ensure the proper enforcement of health regulations like mask-wearing and social distancing.

A CODE team is composed of  health officials from the national and local levels, local government partners, and barangay health emergency response teams. 

Alarming infection rates in Davao City

In its November 16 report, the Octa Research Group listed Davao City as the local government with the highest new infections per day from November 1 to 14. In that time period, the city had a daily attack rate of 5.9% – higher than cities in Metro Manila where the most number of COVID-19 cases have been reported.

The attack rate is the number of new cases per day relative to population. A higher attack rate means more people are getting infected.

The high attack rate and critical hospital occupancy level in Davao City prompted the Octa Research Group to flag the city as a “local government hospot of serious concern.” Baguio City in the Cordillera region was also identified as one.

“The surge in COVID-19 cases in these areas is significant. We are concered that if the surge is not contained, that these LGUs may experience high hospital burden in the coming weeks that may stress their health care systems and overwhelm their medical frontliners,” said the research team.

Davao City is helmed by President Duterte’s eldest daughter, Sara Duterte. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.