By Redjie Melvic Cawis
BAGUIO CITY — The province of Apayao has been placed on a more stringent Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine as per recommendation of the National Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
From the earlier pronouncement that Apayao together with Baguio City will be placed under General Community Quarantine from August 1 to 31, 2021, the province has been placed under a stricter MECQ from August 1 to 15.
Provincial Administrator Atty. Ma. Elena Teresa Ravelo said that the province was again placed under MECQ due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases which placed the hospital care utilization rate in the province under high risk.
Apayao already recorded a total of 2,518 COVID-19 confirmed cases as of August 5, 2021 with 2,105 recoveries, 396 active cases, and 17 deaths.
As of August 4, the DOH-CAR reported that Apayao has a 75% bed occupancy rate and is under high risk based on the hospital care utilization rate.
Conner District Hospital has already filled up 19 of its 20 beds allocated for the COVID-19 patients while the Far North Luzon General Hospital and Training Center has 27 patients with two of its Intensive Care Units occupied, and its two mechanical ventilators are in use.
Ravelo said that aside from COVID-19 cases from the province of Apayao being managed and treated at the two DOH-run hospitals, they also cater to patients from the nearby Cagayan province.
Meanwhile, Provincial Health Officer 1 Dr. Mark Calban said the province is strictly implementing risk based testing among the personnel in health care facilities, those handling COVID-19 cases and those from the vulnerable groups.
The PHO is also implementing testing of the first to third level contacts of COVID-19 positive cases to ensure that they will capture all the possible carriers of the virus of the close contacts of the patients.
While the positivity rate of 23 percent in the last two-week period is considered high, the PHO advised the yApayaos to stay calm and not to panic. Instead, continue adhering to the prescribed health protocols and the minimum health standards such as wearing of face masks and face shields, observing social distancing, staying at home and observance of proper hygiene. Philippine Information Agency