700 dead in less than 3 weeks in Cebu

ANOTHER day, another harsh milestone, as the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) continues to pick its victims in Cebu.

After breaching 500 three days ago, the death toll from Covid-19 this month in the whole Cebu has now hit 700 for just the first 18 days of August, according to the latest Department of Health (DOH) 7 case bulletin.

The 700 deaths reported so far this month account for nearly half or 45 percent of the 1,560 Covid deaths reported in Cebu this year.

Cebu Province accounted for 56 percent of the deaths this month with 394 deaths, followed by Cebu City with 166 deaths (24 percent); Lapu-Lapu City, 93 deaths (13 percent); and Mandaue City, 47 deaths (seven percent).

Cebu Province, which comprises 44 towns and six component cities, makes up 64 percent of Cebu island’s population. Cebu City makes up 19 percent; Lapu-Lapu, 10 percent; and Mandaue, seven percent.

The DOH 7 daily case bulletins come with the note that not all deaths reported on a certain day occurred on that day, but some may have occurred more than a week ago but were only recently reported following validation of the outcome of the confirmed cases.

The Covid death toll of 1,560 in less than eight months of this year now surpasses the death toll of 1,384 reported in the whole of 2020.

But the case fatality rate this year continues to be less than half that of last year because of the sheer number of new cases reported this year as a combination of new and more transmissible coronavirus variants and lockdown fatigue conspired to make residents more vulnerable to the virus.

With 59,452 Covid-19 cases reported this year and 1,560 deaths, Cebu’s case fatality rate this year inches up to 2.62 percent from 2.38 percent three days earlier.

Last year’s case fatality rate was 5.97 percent after 1,384 of 23,172 Covid-19 patients succumbed to the disease then.

Active Covid-19 cases on Cebu island continue to hit new highs, with Cebu City having 4,473 and Cebu Province having 5,226 active cases on Aug. 18, 2021, bringing active cases on the whole Cebu island to 13,211.

In Cebu City Wednesday, where the DOH recorded 417 new Covid-19 cases for the day, Acting Mayor Michael Rama witnessed the soft opening of the first three floors of the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) building where up to 200 non-Covid patients may be transferred to make room for more Covid-19 patients at the old building that houses the Cebu City Transportation Office, where both Covid and non-Covid patients are currently being treated by CCMC personnel.

Also on Wednesday, several mayors in Cebu Province sought the help of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to have the Department of Education (DepEd) allow them to use classrooms as isolation facilities for Covid-19 patients.

Cebu Province recorded 471 new Covid cases on Aug. 18.

DepEd 7 Director Dr. Salustiano Jimenez said he had received requests from the towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion and the City of Naga.

The three are among the 11 towns and cities Governor Garcia placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) with heightened restrictions from Aug. 11 to 31 to curb the rise in Covid-19 cases.

As of Aug. 18, Minglanilla had 267 active cases while Naga had 129. Consolacion had 219 active cases as of Aug. 16.

The other areas Garcia placed under MECQ with heightened restrictions are the towns of Liloan, Cordova, Sibonga, Samboan, Argao and Oslob, and the cities of Talisay and Carcar.

The town of San Fernando, sandwiched between Naga and Carcar, is under voluntary MECQ with heightened restrictions.

Salustiano said the highly urbanized cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu also submitted requests to the DepEd for the use of classrooms as isolation centers.

Mandaue had 1,767 while Lapu-Lapu had 1,745 active cases as of Aug. 18, according to the DOH 7 bulletin.

The Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has placed both cities, along with Cebu City, under MECQ, the second strictest quarantine classification, for the whole month of August.

But on Tuesday, Aug. 17, Mayor Jonas Cortes placed Mandaue City under a heightened state of MECQ until Aug. 31, citing the three cases of the highly contagious Delta variant of Sars-CoV-2 earlier detected in the city as well as the 74 percent rise in the city’s active cases from the start of the month.

His Executive Order 27 imposes a stay-at-home order on residents, except for essential personnel and other authorized persons outside of residence, and to procure essential goods and services; encourages establishments to offer work-from-home and other flexible work arrangements to employees; and prohibits gatherings outside households, except for wakes and funeral services limited to the immediate family. (CTL)