COVID-19 cases here could breach 1,000 mark this week

With 42 more coronavirus cases added in the second week of August, the province of Catanduanes could see the total number of COVID-19 infections exceed a thousand in the next few days.

Data from the Provincial Health Office’s COVID-19 Tracker stated that as of Aug. 14, 2021, the total has reached 966, with 825 recoveries and 35 deaths.

One more patient in Bagamanoc succumbed to the disease over the week, bringing the town’s death toll to two. The other previous deaths are in Virac (18), San Andres (3), Baras (3), Panganiban (3), Caramoran (2), Pandan (2), Viga (1), and San Miguel (1). Only Bato and Gigmoto are unmarked by the pandemic in terms of fatalities.

The number of active cases rose to 106, distributed as follows: Virac, 34; Pandan, 21; Bagamanoc, 16; Bato, 14; Gigmoto, 10; Caramoran, 5; Viga, 3; Baras, 2; and, San Andres, 1. Only the towns of San Miguel and Panganiban had zero cases as of Sunday.

Ninety-seven patients are in home or quarantine facilities, with nine admitted in hospitals. Forty-nine of the active cases are asymptomatic while 53 have mild symptoms, with two moderate and two more with severe symptoms.

According to the same report, 31 of the 42 new cases, or a high 73%, are considered close contacts of confirmed coronavirus cases. Five of them are said to be members of the same family in Binanuahan, Bato whose test results came out positive on Aug. 13.

Last Aug. 10, the Department of Health (DOH) raised Alert Level 3 in Catanduanes due to rising COVID-19 cases and after the utilization rate of local hospital’s dedicated COVID-19 beds breached 70 percent.

DOH Provincial Officer Dr. Robert John Aquino told local officials that the department recommends the implementation of granular lockdowns, active case finding, decongestion of hospitals by shifting mild or asymptomatic cases to Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMF) of local government units, and speeding up of vaccination rollout among the remaining unvaccinated A2 and A3 priority group.

Based on the two-week growth rate and daily attack rate, Pandan, Bagamanoc and Bato are now classified as “high risk,” Gigmoto and Virac as “moderate risk”, Caramoran as “low risk” and the other towns as “minimal risk.”

Last Saturday, Pandan Mayor Honesto Tabligan II ordered strict implementation of measures against COVID-19, including a 9pm to 4am curfew, restricted entry into the town, a liquor ban, three-day wake for non-COVID deaths, closure of all tourism sites, prohibition on children 4 years old and below from going out of their homes, and limited freedom of movement, aside from observance of minimum public health standards.

Gigmoto Mayor Vicente Tayam Jr. also implemented a similar curfew and vowed to impose fines on violators.

As of Aug. 13, 2021, the vaccination rollout in Catanduanes have inoculated with the 1st dose a total of 30,927 or 68% of the 45,629 target population under A1, A2 and A3 priority groups. Of this total, 24,774 have been administered their 2nd dose.

Last week, 1,392 doses of AstraZeneca and 4,000 doses of Coronavac arrived in the island, partly enabling the vaccination teams to inject the 1st dose to 696 members of the Catanduanes police.

Meanwhile, the vaccination rollout received a boost last week with the Catanduanes State University becoming the second institution of higher learning in the Bicol region to pass the simulation exercise for COVID-19 vaccination.

CatSU President Patrick Alain Azanza congratulated the university’s vaccination team headed by Dr. Felix III Ma and composed of personnel from the Medical and Dental Services (MDS), the College of Health Sciences, and volunteers from other CatSU officers, the Catanduanes Medical Society headed by Dr. Geraldine Balmadrid-Rojas and Dr. Jay-R Sorreda, the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) Catanduanes Chapter, and the Philippine Red Cross Catanduanes Chapter for their effort and commitment.

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