The Philippines is currently experiencing a worrying surge in COVID-19 cases, with a 50% increase in daily confirmed infections over the past week, according to data from the Department of Health (DOH)-Philippines. The seven-day average of cases has risen from 260 to 389, with a total of 2,725 individuals testing positive for the virus through laboratory tests.
Despite this concerning increase, health authorities have reassured the public that the national average hospital bed occupancy for COVID-19 cases remains at a low risk level. Currently, 12.9% of allocated intensive care unit (ICU) beds and 18.3% of non-ICU beds for COVID-19 patients are occupied. There are currently 1,983 COVID-19 patients admitted, with 211 in serious or critical condition.
Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa has acknowledged the slight uptick in cases but has emphasized that the numbers are not significantly higher compared to the same period last year. However, the DOH is urging individuals experiencing flu-like symptoms to immediately isolate themselves to prevent further transmission of the virus.
The latest DOH report reveals a total of 2,725 new COVID-19 cases, marking the highest weekly tally in 24 weeks. The daily average of 389 cases is a significant 50% increase from the previous week. Of the new cases, 16 have been classified as severe or critical, the highest number in eight weeks.
In terms of healthcare utilization, the country is currently maintaining a low-risk status. ICU bed utilization is at 12.9%, showing a decline after three weeks of increase. Non-ICU bed utilization is at 18.3%, the highest in five weeks.
While the surge in COVID-19 cases is a cause for concern, health officials are also highlighting the increase in non-COVID illnesses, such as hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol. This rise is attributed to excessive eating and unhealthy food choices during the holiday season. It is important, especially for vulnerable populations, to wear masks, particularly in crowded areas with poor ventilation, to prevent the spread of viral diseases.
The government, in collaboration with the health sector, is closely monitoring the situation and considering potential adjustments to health protocols in order to curb the spread of the virus. Adherence to safety protocols, including wearing face masks in public and choosing well-ventilated places, remains crucial in combating the ongoing pandemic.