Cat’nes included in DOH list of areas with rising COVID cases

Catanduanes’ inclusion in the Department of Health’s list of 13 areas with rising COVID-19 cases last weekend has raised eyebrows among residents and health officials alike.

Last Saturday (April 23, 2022), Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said in a briefing that Catanduanes, along with the provinces of Marinduque, Surigao del Sur, Ilocos Norte, Kalinga, Batanes, Quirino, Catanduanes and Eastern Samar, as well as Davao City, Butuan City, Olongapo City, Tarlac City, and Angeles City have reported an increase in new coronavirus cases.

The report, did not indicate the number of new cases in each province, with Usec. Cabotaje saying that the increase in the said areas are not “significant.”

“Hindi naman significant pero kailangan nating bantayan,” Cabotaje was quoted as saying.

Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire later issued a statement clarifying that the situation in the 13 areas is “not alarming.”

Based on the daily COVID-19 tracker of the Provincial Health Office (PHO), a total of only five (5) new cases were recorded in Catanduanes during a four-week period from March 24 to April 23, 2022.

There were only four (4) active cases in the island as of April 23, consisting of one each in Virac, Bato, Caramoran and Viga.

The four, two of which have mild symptoms while the other two are asymptomatic, have been quarantined.

From March 24, only one new case per day was recorded in five separate days: March 25, April 9, April 12, April 14 and April 23.

From March 30 to April 6, the province recorded its lowest number of active cases at just one.

The number of fatalities from coronavirus complications also stayed at 132, with the last death recorded on March 15, 2022.

The tracker also shows that Catanduanes has logged so far a total of 3,192 cases, with 3,056 recoveries.

The low PHO figures are in stark contrast with the data on the DOH’s COVID-19 Tracker as of April 24, 2022, which shows the island province with total of 3,546 confirmed cases and 29 deaths.

Just behind Naga City’s 0.18 Average Daily Attack Rate per 100,000 population, Catanduanes had an ADAR of 0.14 as of the same date.

Queried as to the reason why DOH included the province in said list of areas with rising cases, DOH Provincial Officer Dr. Robert John Aquino sent this reply through Messenger: “Nag start po kasi tayo sa zero sir nung magka positive ng isa 100% increase agad.”

He added that hundreds of health workers in the province are undergoing surveillance swabbing.

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