Duque: We successfully flattened the curve since April

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 15, 2020   •   283

The Philippines has successfully flattened the curve since April, according to the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The Health Secretary said the number of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases stabilized from 210 to 220 per day.

“So over time we have been able to stabilize the number of new cases being reported anywhere 210-220 per day. This is the clarification I would like to make,” he said.

Duque said the doubling time of cases and mortality also slowed down. He explained the doubling time went down from around two days to eight days.

“I mentioned that on basis of case doubling time that has actually become longer beyond 7 days, anywhere from 8-12 days. This is an improvement from the initial phase of the outbreak, where case doubling time is about 2.5 days,” according to Duque.

However, former special adviser to the COVID-19 National Task Force (NTF) Dr. Anthony Leachon said the DOH should review their data.

As of July 14, the DOH reported 634 new cases, increasing the total number of cases to 57,545. The Philippines also previously recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in a day with 2,434 tallied last July 5. 

“I don’t think we have flattened the curve based on our increase in cases, number of deaths, and full critical care capacity of NCR and Cebu hospitals,” he said in a tweet.

Senator Miguel Zubiri also slammed Duque for his remark and said daily cases increased to over a thousand and the Philippines is soon becoming number one is Southeast Asia in terms of COVID-19 cases.

“The only thing that is flat are the backs of all the poor patients in fully occupied COVID-19 wards all around Metro Manila fighting for their lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a message, Duque said COVID-19 cases in April declined after implementing Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). He also added that COVID-19 cases increased due to the expanded COVID-19 testing. —AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Daily COVID-19 cases reached 1,298 as of Dec. 1

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 1, 2020

The total daily COVID-19 cases reached 1,298 as of December 1, 4:00 p.m., according to the latest data of the Department of Health (DOH).

The report also showed that the number of recoveries is at 135, while deaths increased by 27.

With the new record, the total number of COVID-19 patients is now at 432,925 with 25,725 active cases.

Meanwhile, the total recoveries and deaths reached 398,782 and 8,418, respectively.

The DOH also noted three duplicates were removed from the total case count where two were found out to be recovered cases.

Meanwhile, nine cases previously tagged as recovered were reclassified as deaths. On the other hand, one case that was previously reported as death has been validated as an active case. -AAC

DOH urges public to limit family reunions to prevent surge of COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 30, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) has urged the public to limit family reunions this holiday season to prevent a surge of COVID-19 cases.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said it is better to conduct reunions at home rather than in public areas like restaurants.

He also suggested doing an online reunion, instead, for the safety of every family.

May Zoom, Webex, iba ibang platform. Online mass [gathering], huwag na punta sa mga lugar na maraming dumadalong mga mamamayan dahil tumataas risk contracting COVID-19 (There is Zoom, Webex, and other platforms. Online mass gathering is better, don’t go to crowded places since it would increase the risk of contracting COVID-19),Duque said.

Meanwhile, the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) also reminds families to continue practicing minimum health safety protocols during the holiday season.

HPAAC member Dr. Antonio Dans said it is better to meet up in open or well-ventilated areas and to limit interactions with other people.

“The shorter the time the better, 30 minutes or less […] keep it to a minimum. Ang recommended ng WHO at CDC keep it to 15 minutes (The recommendation of the WHO and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) is to keep it to 15 minutes),” he said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

DOH addresses issue of delayed benefits of healthcare workers

Maris Federez   •   November 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has reiterated its mission to lead the country in creating a productive, resilient, equitable, and people-centered healthcare system, amid the issue of delayed benefits of healthcare workers.

In its press release dated November 28, the DOH said that it cannot take the welfare of the healthcare workers out of the equation in realizing the goals of a Universal Health Care system, especially in the midst of a national state of public health emergency where they are most needed.

“We are taking the issue of delayed benefits very seriously. When matters like this come to our attention, we conduct thorough investigations and concerned offices are made to answer to the Secretary and develop solutions to improve the delivery of services and expedite processes,” the DOH said.

“As health workers, many of us in the DOH—including members of our Executive Committee—have experienced working on the ground, in our health facilities, which is why we understand the challenges in the frontlines—being overworked, underpaid, demoralized, and in this pandemic, even more vulnerable,” it added.

The health department explained that the Active Hazard Duty Pay (AHDP) and Special Risk Allowances (SRA) under Bayanihan 1 are based on the savings of hospitals and only covered frontliners who reported for duty during the Enhanced Community Quarantine from March 15 to May 16.

“Considering that other hospitals do not have savings, DOH sub-alloted P51.9 million which has been released to 17 DOH-retained hospitals who requested for additional funding,” the DOH added.

The department further said that the AHDP and SRA for Bayanihan 2 were alloted through the Administrative Orders 35 and 36 issued by the Office of the President last November 16.

For this, the DOH and the DBM issued Joint Circulars 1 and 2 on November 25 which provided for the P9.2 billion sub-allotment to DOH-retained hospitals, Centers for Health Development (CHDs), and the Ministry of Health of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for the period of September to December. This, the DOH said, has already been released this week.

The department appealed to the healthcare workers to inform them of health facilities that have not yet released their benefits and to file a written complaint to the DOH – Complaints Handling Unit at dohpau.chu@gmail.com.

The DOH assured that it is taking the matter very seriously and that it does not only respond to the health welfare of the general public but also to the health workers who are with them in attaining this vision and battling this pandemic. — /mbmf

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