Iloilo City increased its COVID-19 isolation capacity by 1,500 beds on Monday, August 9, as it braced for more local transmissions of the Delta variant.
The new isolation units will ease the burdens of the city hospitals, where COVID-19 wards have high occupancy rates of between 70% to 80%, and intensive care units are almost 100% full, said Mayor Jerry Treñas.
These packed hospitals are the reason for the city’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status and the DOH’s alert level 4 assignment.
The city has stocked enough oxygen supply and other needs of patients with mild to moderate symptoms, said the mayor.
Treñas also ordered the City Population Office to start scouring barangays for residents aged 12 to 17 and get their parents’ consent for COVID-19 vaccine shots.
The Department of Health Western Visayas Center for Health Development reported 488 new regional COVID-19 cases on August 9, one more than a day earlier.
Iloilo City, Western Visayas’ business and commercial center, showed a drop in new cases, from 91 on August 8 to 65 on August 9.
But new cases in Aklan increased to 144, from 119 on August 8. Iloilo province had 156 new cases on August 9, up from 70 the day before.
Both provinces share the bulk of Iloilo City hospitals’ non-resident caseloads.
The report said 4 of 18 testing laboratories had failed to submit their data for the August 9 report, compared to only one lab on August 8.
New Delta cases
The DOH has categorized four of the city’s six COVID-19 Delta cases as local transmissions.
“The rise of the Delta variant has created fear and uncertainty in the minds of many,” Treñas said. The Delta strain is as contagious as chickenpox, a common childhood viral disease, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Western Visayas health office on August 9 reported 42 more cases of the Delta variant – 22 in Antique, 10 in Iloilo province, six in Iloilo City, and four in Capiz.
It said two returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) were among Iloilo City’s six Delta cases.
The city’s inventory of children aged 12 to 17 would allow a faster vaccine rollout by end-September or October this year.
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration has granted the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine an emergency use authorization for children 12 years old and older. Sinovac has also applied for an EUA on its vaccine, for children three years old and above.
More than 65,000 vaccine doses arrived in Iloilo on August 9. The 50,120 doses of Moderna and 15,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines will help the city meet its inoculation target of 10,000 Ilonggos daily, Treñas said. – Inday Espina-Varona/Rappler.com