No sign of Covid-19 surge letup in next few weeks

22 September 2021 – The city may have to endure the effects of the Delta-driven Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) surge for two months more before realizing a downtrend in cases.

But Mayor Benjamin Magalong assured that with the continued implementation of restrictions, increased compliance to public health standards and ramping up of vaccination, the city can attempt to bring down the cases at a shorter time.

Citing experiences of other countries, the mayor earlier warned that Delta will hit the city hard and its effects will be felt for about three months.

“Our surge started on Aug. 20 so we are just on our first month and we have two months to go.  But this is if our restrictions are weak.  As it is, we are implementing more restrictions to further limit the movement of people and we are speeding up our vaccination,” the mayor said.

“Add to this is the fact that as compared to other places, we are relatively more compliant to the health standards like in the wearing of masks so hopefully these will significantly help in lowering our cases in a month’s time or in one and-a-half months’ time,” the mayor said.  

The mayor also based his projection on the city’s R naught also called the basic reproduction number which helps predict the number of cases generated from exposure to a single case of the COVID-19 and other indicators that analyze the dynamics of the current surge.

“With our R-naught now at 1.4, we usually would have lowered it in two weeks with all the proper guidelines in place but now with the Delta variant, it will take us two months to bring it down without the proper measures,” he said.

City Health Services Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said that in the past week from Sept. 12-18, the city’s COVID-19 numbers had shot up some more.

“Based on our epidemic curve, we have surpassed the levels of all the peaks that we have had since the pandemic started,” Galpo said.

The city experienced three case peaks, first in September 2020, the second last January and the third last April.

Comparing week Sept. 5-11 with week Sept. 12-18, the number of active cases rose by 17.6 percent from 1,585 to 1,793 or from 218 to 256 patients a day.

A new highest single-day record was also posted at 411 last Sept. 18 but the mayor said this was a result of a four-day dumping of accumulated results due to the volume of specimens being processed daily.

Deaths also spiked by 126 percent from 23 (four per day) to 52 (seven per day).

The city prepared for the Delta two months before its expected outbreak by stocking up on supply of medicines and oxygen, increasing capacities of health facilities and ramping up vaccination.

Still, it reeled from the impact of the surge which upended the health care system and stretched the city’s resources to the brink prompting a call for residents to also step up their own response to the health emergency.

Apart from compliance to the minimum public health standards, the public was urged to exercise self-reliance in combatting the virus by doing their own family and workplace’s planning on protection, health assessment, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation and complying on lockdown rules without police supervision.

“We also appeal to people to stay home if there are no important things to do outside, follow the minimum public health standards including double masks, avoid crowd and ensure proper ventilation,” the mayor said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo