Editorial: Strategies

It may help if the public understands the strategy that our health care system is implementing amid new threats.

The highly transmissible Delta variant, which swamped India’s health care system, has been detected in 16 additional cases, 11 of which were local ones.

The local cases came from Northern Mindanao (six), National Capital Region (two), Central Luzon (one) and Western Visayas (two). Five other cases were returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs). In all, the Philippines now has 35 Delta cases, with two mortalities. Thirty-one of the cases have recovered, while the quarantine status of two other ROFs are yet to be verified. DOH Epidemiology Bureau cief Dr. Alethea de Guzman said they are now trying to check for any emerging pattern that connects these cases.

The Department of Health (DOH) is now activating the last two “doors” in its four-door strategy.

“With our four-door strategy, we have delayed the entry of this Delta variant with the activation of Door 1 and Door 2. Now that we have detected additional cases of Delta variant, and because they are local cases, we are now activating Doors 3 and 4,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

Door 1 emphasized on preventing the entry of the variant, implementing travel restrictions from India, Indonesia and six other countries. Door 2 imposed screening, quarantine and testing at ports of entry. With rising Delta cases, Door 3, recognizing an outbreak, urges the local government units to strengthen the PDITR strategy: prevent, detect, isolate, treat and reintegrate. Door 4 imposes community quarantines to contain the spread and protect the health care system from being overwhelmed.

DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas said the July specimens that were sent to the Philippine Genome Center did not yield any variant case. The region’s current spike, especially in highly urbanized cities and provinces, is caused by community transmissions in workplaces, public transportation, public places and mass gatherings. As of July 18, Cebu City logged 1,440 active cases; Lapu-Lapu had 573; Mandaue City, 449; and Cebu Province 1,202.

Bernadas said the region’s critical care utilization rate is still at 52 percent and about 37-38 percent for ICU beds. Moderate risk level is at 60 percent and above 70 percent for high risk. The DOH 7, he said, had expanded its Covid hospital bed capacity, its fleet of temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMFs) and referral centers. The TTMFs are at 30-40 percent capacity yet.

Councilor Joel Garganeera, deputy chief implementer of Cebu City’s Emergency Operations Center, said the city never had its guard down at its ports of entry, requiring inbound domestic passengers a swab test, a swabbing station has been in place for passengers coming from places with no swabbing capabilities.

Cebu City Councilor James Cuenco, on the other hand, also reminded public transportation to ensure that proper health protocols are followed and observe limitations on the number of passengers.

The City’s police are also on the prowl in its Oplan Bulabog, focusing on restaurants and bars, to see if proper health protocols and the curfew are being observed.

We hope to hear how other cities and municipalities are also doing amid rising cases and looming threats of the highly transmissible variant.