As N. Samar to appeal its Alert Level 4 classification

TACLOBAN CITY- A health official of the region has raised an alarm that more areas in the region could be placed under Alert Level 4, the second-highest COVID-19 alert level system due to their increasing hospital bed utilization.
Presently, the province of Northern Samar was classified under Alert Level 4 though this was objected by its provincial health official saying their current condition does not fit the metrics for such classification.
Dr. Marc Steven Capungcol, chief of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the Department of Health(DOH), said that among the areas in the region that are likely to be placed under Alert Level 4 are Biliran, and the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc.
These areas, based on the data of the DOH, are experiencing high hospital bed utilization, among the conditions set for an area to be classified under Alert Level 4.
Based on the bulletin issued by the DOH on Monday (Jan.24), Biliran province has the highest hospital bed utilization at 82.93%, followed by Ormoc City at 79.66% and Tacloban City at 78.65%.
Meantime, Leyte’s hospital bed utilization rate is at 63.94%, Samar with 56.59%, Southern Leyte at 47.71%, and Eastern Samar at 25.24%.
Eastern Visayas, at present, has hospital bed utilization at 59.79 percent or at medium risk.
According to Capungcol, the increase in the hospitalization bed rate in these areas are due mainly to the confinement of asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19.
“Based on the data, there are many hospitals from these provinces that are still admitting asymptomatic and mild cases,” he said.
And for this situation to be corrected, Capungcol urged the local government units to ask their COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic or considered as mild cases to just isolate them at their isolation facilities and not brought them to hospitals.
Based on the DOH records, of the region’s 4,004 active COVID-19 cases, 69.11% of them are classified as asymptomatic,30.69% as mild, 0.25% as severe and zero as critical.
Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez earlier made an appeal to his fellow local chief executives to manage their asymptomatic COVID-19 patients at their respective localities to avoid crowding of hospitals of the city.
Romualdez said that only severe and critical cases should be sent to hospitals in the city for medical and health care.
Meantime, Dr.Ninfa Kam, health officer of Northern Samar, said that they will be appealing to the IATF to change the classification of Northern Samar to just Alert Level 3 just like the rest of the region.
For one, she said, their hospital bed utilization rate has not yet reached to 85 to 100 utilization but is just around 36 percent, which is even considered as ‘low risk.’
She also added that their daily attack rate of COVID-19 is just 3.25 percent, which is even lower compared to Leyte’s 7.28 percent.
“We were surprised why Northern Samar was classified under Alert Level 4. That is why, the provincial inter-agency task force will ask for consideration to reclassify us to just Alert Level 3 just like the rest of the region,” Kam said in a radio interview.
She said that the data submitted to the regional DOH from their encoders could have resulted in the placing of Northern Samar under Alert Level 4.