CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Health authorities on Wednesday urged residents to refrain from gatherings amid a surge of COVID-19 cases noted in the city five days after New Year’s Day.
Dr. Teodoro Yu Jr., Cagayan de Oro City Health Office medical officer, said 11 COVID-19 infections were recorded in the city’s hospitals on Tuesday, December 4, from three cases logged on Monday, increasing the average daily attack rate (ADAR) to 38%.
Yu said three of the 11 cases were infected after attending a post-New Year’s Day party in the city while the rest were infected for not practicing social distancing and wearing face masks.
He said there are a total of 33 active COVID-19 cases in Cagayan de Oro with only two recoveries.
“Not attending parties or gatherings is better than getting infected,” Yu said during Wednesday’s press briefing.
Mayor Oscar Moreno immediately called for a review of their operational plan against the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
Moreno also ordered the police and barangay officials to implement the local ordinance on social distancing and wearing of masks in public places.
“Our health indicators, the ADAR, and two-week growth rate are disturbingly rising. Conservatively, we must assume that the Omicron variant is already here,” Moreno said.
Moreno said he is concerned that a surge of COVID-19 cases in Cagayan de Oro and other provinces in Region 10 would swamp the health systems in the city again.
Moreno pointed at the rising COVID-19 cases in Misamis Oriental and Iligan with 10 patients confined at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the primary COVID-19 hospital in the region based in the city.
He said mechanical ventilators, which are essential for COVID-19 treatment, are only available in hospitals in Cagayan de Oro.
Moreno said to remedy the lack of beds, the entire fourth floor of the city hall-owned JR Borja Memorial General Hospital was converted as a facility for COVID-19 patients.
He urged the ramping up of the vaccination for city residents and the neighboring provinces to counter the Omicron threat.
“We will accommodate any resident from the neighboring provinces to get their first, second, and booster shots in Cagayan de Oro,” Moreno said.
As of Tuesday, the City Health Office reported 440,339 out of 518,000 Cagayan de Oro residents have been given their first and second vaccine doses. –Rappler.com
Froilan Gallardo is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship