SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Ilocos Norte, La Union, and Pangasinan provinces are bracing for additional curbs on mobility as they start their Alert Level 3 status on Friday, January 14.
COVID-19 Interagency Task Force (IATF) announced the latest classification for the three provinces on Wednesday, January 12 with the Ilocos region reporting 2,293 active cases as of January 12.
Pangasinan has the biggest number of active cases, at 896, the Department of Health (DOH) in Region 1 said.
Ilocos Norte’s active cases jumped from only 13 on December 31, 2021 to at least 586 as of January 12. It recorded 150 new cases on January 12, a new highest one-day total, bringing the total of new cases to 307 in the past two days.
The DOH said La Union, with 433 active cases, has the highest average daily attack rate in the region at 5.00 per 100,000 population.
DOH Ilocos region focal person Dr. Rheuel Bobis on Thursday, January 13, said the spike came from, “increased risk of exposure and mobility of individuals during the holiday season when most areas eased their protocols.”
In La Union, 18 new cases came from the popular surfing town of San Juan, where participants of a December 29, 2021 fund-raising event included two infected close contacts of a returning citizen who breached quarantine to party just before Christmas.
Despite the surge, the region’s bed occupancy rate in 79 facilities remains under the ‘safe’ level, with COVID-19 patients occupying 43% of 1,974 dedicated beds.
But four facilities were in the critical zone for having at least 85% occupancy rate, the regional DOH said.
The DOH said 47.1% of confirmed cases showed no symptoms. It tagged 49.7% as mild cases, 2.7% moderate and 0.6% severe. One active case was in critical condition.
More than half of confirmed cases in the region, or 1,701 individuals, are under home isolation.
Ilocos Sur is the only Region 1 province remaining under Alert Level 2. It started implementing on January 10 tougher measures than others in the region, mandating quarantine for all travelers coming from Level 3 and 4 areas, regardless of vaccination status.
The IATF placed the independent component city of Dagupan in Pangasinan on Alert Level 3 last week.- Rappler.com
John Michael Mugas is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.