Here’s what you need to know about the COVID-19 spikes in Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City

John Sitchon

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Here’s what you need to know about the COVID-19 spikes in Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City

DISINFECTION. Healthcare workers disinfect before going to work.

photo from Mandaue City PIO

Number of infections are rising, but health officials in the two cities are still not ringing alarm bells

For several weeks in the tail end of 2020, Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City had minimal cases of the coronavirus disease. In fact, there was a point in that period when Mandaue City almost eliminated all its active cases.

These dips were notable considering that only last August of 2020, Cebu was labelled a COVID-19 epicenter because of what then looked like a runaway caseload of infections. Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City were part of that hot spot.

But COVID-19 numbers in these cities are increasing once again.

In the beginning of January, Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City had only 36 and 24 active cases, respectively. As of January 25,  Lapu-Lapu’s infections jumped to 119, while Mandaue has a whopping 235 active cases.

Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu are neighbors of Cebu City – a city that is now in the throes one of the biggest COVID spikes for the month of January

Together with Cebu City, they compose the 3 most populous urban centers in the Cebu island group.

What are the cities doing now?

Recently, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” announced that there would be stricter enforcement of wearing face masks and physical distancing protocols. He added that the police could immediately arrest violators on the spot.

Violators would be assessed P1,000 fines and would spend a night inside the Lapu-Lapu Sports Complex. According to police reports, there were a lot of individuals being arrested for violating the curfew which lasts from 10 pm until 5 am.

Only frontliners and healthcare professionals are excused from curfew as long as they have supporting documents, like a certificate of employment and company ID.

The COVID-19 task force’s latest regulations, now allows 10 year olds to go out but they still have to bring their city’s quarantine passes that is marked with its own color-coding scheme. 

In the Lapu-Lapu City, private vehicles are also ordered to follow a number coding scheme in order to be permitted to use the public roads.

As present, Chan has put gyms and sports centers under surveillance as there have been reports of large crowds in these areas. 

Contact sports are still not allowed by the local IATF.

Resort establishments and public beaches are also under surveillance to ensure these facilities maintained a 50% capacity. (READ: Lapu-Lapu City puts up checkpoints as beach resorts reach 50% capacity)

Several bars and restaurants were also shut down after it was reported that crowds were having “mini-fiestas” and were apparently serving alcohol beyond the standard limit.

Meanwhile, Mandaue City has ramped up its contact tracing efforts and disinfected areas where the active cases have been and reside.

In places like the Mandaue City Public Market, the city’s enforcement unit has been clearing road obstructions and monitoring the capacity of areas that have a tendency to get crowded. 

Proper physical distancing and the wearing of face masks and face shields are also being heavily implemented to ensure that a possible spread of the virus would be quickly contained.

The city also introduced a new electronic business permits and licensing system so that establishment owners could renew and pay for their permits without having to go and crowd the city offices.

How are the hospitals doing?

According to data from the Department of Health, the bed occupancy rate for hospitals in Mandaue City is at 27.7%. 

That is about 66 beds have been occupied (4 occupied ICU Beds, 21 occupied isolation beds, and 41 occupied ward beds) out of 238 available in total.

Right now, Mandaue City has 6 facilities handling COVID patients, namely; Chong Hua Hospital Mandaue, AMOSUP Seaman’s Hospital-Cebu, Dr Ignacio M. Cortes General Hospital, Eversley Child’s Sanitarium and General Hospital, University of Cebu Medical Center Mandaue, and the Women’s and Children’s Community Hospital.

However, while the occupancy rate was still way under the 70% danger zone, Mandaue City’s occupancy rate last December 9 had just been around only 18.5%. 

On the flip side, Lapu-Lapu City Hospital, one of 3 COVID-19 isolation facilities, has crept into a high-risk occupancy rate of about 75.5%. This means, 39 out of 49 isolation and ward beds have already been occupied.

What’s to come in the next few days?

It’s still too early to say if Lapu-Lapu or Mandaue City would decide to put barangays under lockdown. For now, increased contact tracing and monitoring take the spotlight.

This also means that number of contact tracers would possibly increase. And, while that’s happening, police visibility would also be beefed up in the upcoming days.

Border control and curfew patrol is still going to continue.

As of this writing, both cities have said that they are reserving amounts for vaccine purchases and are hoping to distribute soon.

Mandaue City has allotted P200M for its vaccine budget while Lapu-Lapu intends to reserve at least around P100M for its own vaccines. No details have been disclosed on which brand of vaccine the city governments prefer.

According to Mandaue City Emergency Operations Center head August Lizer Malate, the latest surge might have been due to the holiday season. He added that it would still be too early to talk about the new COVID-19 variant as details were still being ironed out.

“We’ll see the trend until the end of January to make the proper assessment,” Malate added.

For Grace Carungay, head of the Lapu-Lapu City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU), the rate of daily cases in Lapu-Lapu City was not considered very high as it was still only at 4 new cases per day. The highest rate, according to her, was at 14 new cases per day.

“We are confident that active cases in Lapu-Lapu City are still under control,” Carungay concluded. –

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