Cagayan De Oro City

‘Fiesta gift’: Cagayan de Oro sees drop in COVID-19 cases on feast day

Froilan Gallardo
‘Fiesta gift’: Cagayan de Oro sees drop in COVID-19 cases on feast day

COFFEE. Taking advantage of the less restrictive quarantine status, Oddrea Bernaldez, proprietor of Kape Rolls, sells hot Arabica coffee to passing vehicles and commuters at the rotunda area in Cagayan de Oro on the feast day of St. Augustine on August 28.

Froilan Gallardo/Rappler

Mayor Oscar Moreno says the city's celebration of the Feast of Saint Augustine is 'sober' this year, as it was in the first year of the global pandemic

For the first time in two months, Cagayan de Oro saw a drop in its single-day COVID-19 cases – in time for the city’s fiesta day.

Officials said they recorded 70 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, August 28, the feast of Cagayan de Oro’s patron, Saint Augustine. This was far lower than the daily average of over 300 in July and early August.

The dramatic drop from three-digit figures was followed by Malacañang’s announcement that it would extend the city’s modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) classification from September 1 to 7.

Under this less restrictive quarantine status, businesses like hotels, malls, and other commercial establishments are allowed to partially open in Cagayan de Oro.

“This is a wonderful gift from our patron saint, Saint Augustine. We are happy for our residents,” Mayor Oscar Moreno said.

Ted Yu of the City Health Office added that Cagayan de Oro logged 81 recoveries that day, 11 more than the day’s new infections.

However, August 28 records also showed that a total of five COVID-19 patients had died in hospitals across the city.

Cagayan de Oro had been reeling from infections since July, and even recorded 1,060 cases in one week in early August.

The UP-based Octa Research group, in a monitoring report released three days before the fiesta, said it detected a downtrend in cases in Cagayan de Oro, with the reproduction rate of COVID-19 infections decreasing from 1.38% to 1.15% in the days before August 25.

“If the trends continue, Cagayan de Oro should start to see a decrease in new COVID-19 cases in one or two weeks,” the independent research group said.

The group added however that the city’s hospital bed and intensive care unit occupancy rates remained at critical levels.

Mayor Moreno said 227 COVID-19 patients were still confined at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the primary COVID-19 referral hospital in Northern Mindanao.

‘Fiesta gift’: Cagayan de Oro sees drop in COVID-19 cases on feast day

“Of the 227 cases, 86 are fighting for their lives, having been listed as ‘in critical condition,’” he said.

Moreno said the city’s celebration of the Feast of Saint Augustine, traditionally characterized by festivals, rodeos, a beauty pageant, and a colorful civic-military parade, was “sober” this year, as it was in the first year of the global pandemic.

Moreno said he had no choice but to ban the holding of these events and discourage residents from holding parties in their homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially its more transmissible Delta variant. – Rappler.com

Froilan Gallardo is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship

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