Camiguin Covid cases now on its ‘critical risk’ level: DOH

By : Uriel Quilinguing Mindanao Today/10:08:19pm 07/22/2021


(Note: This news article was published in the print edition of Mindanao Today on July 14, 2021)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the last two weeks and daily detections in Camiguin indicate that the island province is on “critical risk” level, an official of the Department of Health-10 (DOH-10) said.

Dr. Jose Llacuna Jr., DOH-10 regional director, bared the province’s health risk status in a virtual Covid-19 briefer, in the wake of rising cases of infections in the island since last month.

“All places in the (Northern Mindanao) region are negative (decreased number of cases), except Camiguin,” said Llacuna who, aided with a graph, showed the island’s 1,615.38 percent two-week growth rate (TWGR) of Covid-19 infections and a 16.94 percent average daily attack rate (ADAR).

These, he said, put Camiguin at critical risk level of infections, hence, an epidemiological team was sent late last week to the island to assess the situation.

Llacuna said infections in the island is locally transmitted since health protocols for outsiders going to the island has been stringent.

He said the visitors are being quarantined while waiting for results of their reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction tests.

The health official, however, emphasized that specimens must be taken from the fifth to the eight day since viral load may not be detected earlier than the fifth day once one is exposed to an infected person.

“One possible explanation is that a person has a negative RT-PCR result because his viral load is still low to be detected because the incubation period is between five to eight days,” said Llacuna.

He said that while provincial government is constructing its molecular laboratory facility, acquire equipment, hire and train personnel, rapid antigen detection tests must be made available to local health offices.

Llacuna said he has already assured Camiguin local officials that swabbed specimens will be given priority in molecular laboratory tests in Cagayan de Oro so that infected persons could be detected, isolated, and managed soonest time possible.

DOH-10, he said, would make sure there is enough supply of viral transport medium so that the transport of specimen can easily be done.

He has also recommended for increased Covid-19 wards at the Camiguin General Hospital and the setting up of more quarantine facilities so that home quarantine can be avoided.

Llacuna also urged those engaged in risk communications and health education and promotions to maximize the mileage that Camiguin’s radio broadcast station and reach out to more island residents.

Also, they are not discounting the possibility that laxity in the observance of the minimum public health standards is a contributory factor in the transmission of the virus.

Meanwhile, Northern Mindanao region, in its entirety, is considered as “low risk” because its TWGR is negative 1.28 percent and its ADAR is 4.13 percent.

Llacuna said that even Cagayan de Oro, which is under a modified enhance community quarantine status (MECQ) until July 15, is already “moderate risk” since its TWGR has dropped to negative 24.74 percent and its ADAR is 8.13 percent.

Those under “low-risk levels,” all registering negative TWGRs include Bukidnon (-34.11 percent), Misamis Occidental (-37.13 percent), Misamis Oriental (-47.29 percent), and Iligan (-48.04 percent).

Further down is Lanao del Norte classified as “minimal risk” since it has a negative 53.33 percent TWGR and an ADAR of 0.80 percent.

ADAR is the percentage of persons per 100,000 who get infected in a day while TWGR is the percentage increase of cases in a 14-day period over that of the previous two-week duration.

On Friday, July 9, DOH-10 tagged 14 infections to Camiguin, among the 161 cases that were recorded since July 1, this year, thus bringing the cumulative cases to 411 from the time the first case in the island was confirmed April 5, 2020.

Of the 411 confirmed cases, 253 (62 percent) of them are from Mambajao as of Friday, July 9. Over a month ago, Mambajao only had 58 cases.

Mambajao Mayor Yñigo Jesus Romualdo, in his Executive Order No. 15 which would require quarantine pass (QP) and quick response (QR) code for households to buy or transact essential goods and services that took effect on Thursday, July 8, traced the exponential spread of infections to the town’s public market.

The use of QP and QR code is only limited to one person per household and to be used only on designated hour of the day, depending on the barangay where the holder resides.

These, according to E.O. No. 15 is intended to prevent crowding in establishments and minimize movement of people, thus reducing the possibility of exposures and transmissions of Covid-19.

Romualdo has earlier ordered the disinfection of the Mambajao public market and had implemented localized lockdown in places where other index cases were traced.

Since July 1, at least 20 residents get infected in a day. Single-day highest, so far, was 47 cases that was recorded on Tuesday, July 6.

As of Friday, July 9, more than half (57 percent) or 233 of the 411 are infectious, though only eight were admitted in hospitals.

Of the total, only 175 were certified to have recovered, a relatively low 42 percent.

Three residents, all senior citizens, had succumbed to Covid-19.

Two of the fatalities, both females, were from Mambajao and the other, a male, was from Mahinog.

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