CEBU, Philippines — COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Central Visayas prompting the regional health office to declare a third wave of infections in the area.
“We are in a third wave now. We have been monitoring the cases for the last four weeks in Central Visayas, not just Cebu City and our epidemic curve shows an upward trend,” Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Caña, Chief of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU-7), said in a statement on Sunday.
Cañal based her assumption and interpretation of a third wave solely on the rising epidemic curve among the provinces in Central Visayas.
“Epidemiologically speaking, there is no strict definition for what is or is not an epidemic wave. A wave simply implies a rising number of cases. The word “wave” implies a natural pattern of peaks,” Cañal added.
“As I have said, there is no standardization with covid-19 virus since this a new disease. Unlike dengue or measles where we already have data 5 years ago so we can set a threshold for those diseases. Our data started in March 2020. Setting a threshold for this is not logical,” she said when asked how she was able to determine that a third wave is already in the region.
The RESU-7 chief also said that there is still no Delta variant detected in Central Visayas so far. Based from bio-surveillance data, variants of concern detected in the region were Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1351) and Theta (P.3).
Cañal cited several factors that contributed to the increase in cases or the third wave,among them, the virus itself. “The virus keeps on evolving as it is its nature to mutate resulting to different variants which increases the virus’ transmissibility.”
She also said that people gather together in events like birthdays, weddings, fiesta and the likes that drive the transmission because people violate public health measures.
Cañal also observed that there is “inappropriate use of public health and social measures such as wearing of masks, avoiding crowded indoor spaces, spending more time indoors, improving ventilation, and washing of hands.”
She also highlighted the “inequitable and uneven distribution of vaccines.”
As of July 10, the DOH-7 reported 3,684 active cases in Negros Oriental Province while Bohol has 1,934 active infections.
Cebu Province, on the other hand, has 807 active cases while Cebu City has recorded 1,077 active cases. Most of the cases in Cebu Island are asymptomatic.
Even with the rising number of cases, Cebu City’s hospital bed occupancy rate is only pegged at 29.%.
First Published in cnnphilippines.com. Reporting by Albert Rovic Tan