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Bicol now on Alert Level 3; Bicolanos urged to follow health protocols

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The Department of Health urged Bicolanos to follow health protocols after the region has been placed under Alert Level 3.

“All provinces and cities in Bicol except for Ligao City are also on Alert Level 3. Ligao City is on Alert Level 2. This assessment by RESU is as of January 13, 2022 until lifted,” the DOH said.

The assessment was based on the COVID-19 Bed Utilization Rate, One Week Growth Rate (OWGR), which measures how fast cases increase in the span of one week, and the presence of COVID-19 variants in the region.

As of December 31, 2021, Bicol Region has a total of 822 local Variants of Concern (VOC) detected. Two are confirmed Omicron, 56 are Alpha, 127 are Beta, and 637 are Delta.

The DOH Bicol reiterateed that these numbers are based on the specimens submitted to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) and based on submitted samples, Delta remains the dominant variant in the region.

As of January 8, 2022, both Health Care Utilization Rate (HCUR) and ICU COVID-19 Utilization Rate are at low risk. However, the two DOH hospitals and COVID-19 referral hospitals in the region, the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH), and the Bicol Medical Center (BMC), have expressed their concern over their increasing COVID-19 admissions.

“BMC reported a rapid increase in its COVID-19 admission rate, and the increasing number of their health workers testing positive. Meanwhile, BRTTH has closed its Out-Patient Department (OPD) starting January 12, 2022 and encourages the public to contact the BRTTH Telehealth Project for OPD consultation,” said the department.

“With the surge of COVID-19 cases, and the current alert level 3 status of the region, Bicol CHD urges the public to follow the health protocols such as wearing of face masks properly, hand washing or hand sanitation, and social distancing,”it added.

Bicolanos are also urged to submit oneself for COVID-19 vaccination, stressing that COVID-19 vaccines are proven safe and effective against severe and critical forms of COVID-19 including death.