DOH Bicol presses alarm over rising COVID-19 cases in the region

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The Department of Health Bicol Center for Health Development (DOH Bicol CHD) reported that COVID-19 cases in the region have been increasing since March this year.

According to the department, there is now an average of 200 new cases being recorded daily. The positivity rate of laboratory tests rose to 23% as of June 13, 2021 from the previously reported 9% recorded on April 4, 2021.

Despite this, Bicol remains at moderate risk level equivalent to General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

“While the risk level of the region remains unchanged, the DOH has classified certain areas in the region as high-risk, including the cities of Naga and Legazpi,” the DOH said.

The DOH noted that the rise in COVID-19 cases is attributed to a number of factors including lapses in the implementation of the minimum public health standards for prevention and “COVID intervention fatigue,” and lapses in contact tracing and in the enforcement of quarantine and isolation protocols.

In addition, the delays in the collection of specimen, delays in the submission of the specimen to the laboratories due to incomplete information, and the delay in informing and releasing of individual test results by the local government units (LGUs) are other factors that compound the current situation in the region.

DOH Bicol reminded everyone that the fight against COVID-19 is a whole-of-government, whole-of-system, whole-of-society approach. Thus, each has a responsibility to take.

“The Local Government Units (LGUs) are directed to level up the implementation of the BIDA Solusyon Plus, provide safe and livable quarantine and isolation facilities, step up contact tracing, submit samples immediately, release individual results as soon as daily COVID-19 updates are posted, and facilitate reintegration of individuals who have recovered to the community,” said the department.

They were directed to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination in their respective localities.

“The LGUs have been vital in the country’s COVID-19 response, and their relentless efforts are greatly appreciated. However, as the health crisis persists, there is an emerging need to further intensify government efforts at the local level,” the DOH said.

The public is also urged to follow the minimum public health standards or the BIDA Solusyon Plus, report for signs and symptoms, follow quarantine/isolation protocols if they are close contacts, refrain from sharing information that cannot be verified, and support COVID-19 patients and frontliners and protect them from discrimination.

“This way, you can protect yourself and your family while playing a role in our unified fight against COVID-19,” the DOH said.