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.
That means of the 700 deaths reported in the first two weeks of August, not all Covid victims died this month.
Eugenia Mercedes Cañal of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (Resu), said from Aug. 1 to 16, the DOH 7 logged a total of 456 confirmed Covid-19-related deaths in the entire Cebu. These were mortalities confirmed as Covid-related by their death certificates.
Of the number, 259 mortalities were recorded in Cebu Province, 116 in Cebu City, 57 in Lapu-Lapu City, and 24 in Mandaue City.
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 2020 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.
Case fatality rate
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 Aug. 18, 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 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.
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.
Meanwhile, pediatric Covid-19 cases made up about 11 percent of the region’s total cases since the start of this year, according to the Resu.
Of the 76,443 total cases in the region since January 1, a total of 8,410 are minors.
On Aug. 1-16, the DOH 7 recorded nine deaths involving children between three days old to 14 years old in the entire Cebu Island.
As of this writing, Central Visayas logged 15,500 active Covid-19 cases.
“We have a spike of cases in the past three to four weeks and there were also a spike in the number of critical cases and severe cases. It has been attributed to increase in transmissibility and because of the increase in transmissibility, there are numbers of families affected and there are more persons with comorbidities and senior citizens affected,” DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas said.
Bernadas said the past four weeks had been a “nightmare” for the region’s hospital system which ran short of their medical response even after additional medical personnel were dispatched by the DOH.
“There was really a problem during the past three weeks, but lately, last week, we have increased significantly the number of rooms and the number of emergency rooms that were opened and made available,” Bernadas said.
The DOH 7 has deployed 139 healthcare personnel to various private hospitals in the region.
In Cebu City, data from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) shows 25 percent of mortalities recorded in August were from the city’s mountain barangays.
Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC deputy chief implementer said of the 156 deaths recorded by the EOC as of Aug. 18, 30 were residents of northern mountain barangays while nine were from southern mountain villages.
The northern mountain barangays that reported Covid-related deaths this August are the following: Adlaon (3), Agsungot (1), Bacayan (7), Binaliw (4), Busay (7), Cambinocot (1), Guba (2), Pit-os (3), Pulangbato (1), and Sirao (1).
While deaths reported from mountain villages in the south district, came from Babag (1), Buhisan (3), Buot (1), Kalunasan (3), and Sapangdaku (1).
Garganera said a cluster clinic in Barangay Pit-os has been established to cater to residents from mountain villages.
Cluster clinics conduct check-ups and swab tests on residents who manifest Covid-like symptoms.
“Early detection would lead us to early intervention,” said Garganera.
Other cluster clinics in Cebu City are located in barangays Basak, Tinago, San Nicolas Proper, and Cebu Medical Society (CMS) in Banilad. (WBS, JJL)