Near ‘critical’ level Bukidnon should be under MECQ - Red Cross official
MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/29 August 2021) – Bukidnon should be placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) as its corona virus infection level is nearing “critical risk”, an official of the Philippine Red Cross Bukidnon said.
PRC Bukidnon Chair Roderico Bioco told BukidnonNews.Net Sunday Bukidnon’s Covid situation is no longer “high risk” in reaction to the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) level that the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force decided in an emergency meeting on August 18, 2021.
“We are no longer “high risk”. We are (now in) “critical level,” he said in an exchange of messages with BukidnonNews.Net.
The Provincial IATF placed Bukidnon under MGCQ even if its Covid situation is classified as “high risk” citing the need to allow the people to proceed with their livelihood while observing strict implementation of health protocols.
In his social media post on Sunday, Bioco cited skyrocketing numbers for Bukidnon using Average Daily Attack Rate (ADAR).
“While Valencia has been steady in August with 14-day ADAR from 17.4 to 21.7, Malaybalay zoomed past from 10.3 to 38.6 ADAR with its most recent Week 7-day ADAR of 50.2,” he added. He cited that Valencia’s ADAR is already at “critical level”.
Bioco said Malaybalay, the provincial convergence of Covid-19 case handling is inevitably exploding with Covid-19 cases. The city is home to the Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center and the Northern Mindanao Wellness and Reintegration Center.
“Bukidnon’s 14-day ADAR as a whole is also skyrocketing by 70% from 11.2 to 19.1 in August,” he added.
In epidemiology, the attack rate is the percentage of an at-risk population that contracts a disease during a specified time interval.
Provincial IATF co-chair lawyer Oliver Owen Garcia told BukidnonNews.Net Sunday the health sector of the task force recommended on August 18 an escalation to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions.
“It was not approved because the mayors did not agree. They preferred localized lockdowns,” he added in an SMS, in response to a query.
Atty. Garcia also denied that the province’s Covid situation is already critical.
“Our health care utilization rate is only “high risk” as of Thursday last week per PHO (Provincial Health Office). Our two-week growth rate is at medium risk while our ADAR is high risk,” he added.
Based on the COVID-19 Regional Risk Level posted in pia.gov.ph, as of August 24, 2021, Bukidnon’s average daily attack rate (ADAR) is 17.25 and is classified as “high risk?” The two-week growth rate was also computed at 34.77%, which is classified as medium.
Bioco clarified that indeed Bukidnon has not reached critical risk province wide.
“It is already almost there at 19.1. In two to three days if we get successive more than 300 cases per day, then we hit critical risk,” added Bioco, former chair of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He finished BS Mathematics in Ateneo de Manila University with specialization in Statistics from UP Diliman.
He noted that critical level of ADAR is 20 above for areas with low healthcare capacity like Bukidnon. He said ADAR 20 should be the threshold for “critical risk” province-wide to declare MECQ.
Bukidnon can implement granular lockdown already if ADAR hits 20, he added.
As of August 24, DOH-10 already reported that five Bukidnon localities were already having ADAR in that category: Malaybalay City with 27.66, Quezon with 25.30, Manolo Fortich with 24.40, Maramag with 20.78, and Valencia City with 20.40.
The same five localities are in the Top 10 municipalities and cities with Active COVID -19 Cases in Northern Mindanao. As of August 24, Malaybalay City’s 793 cases placed second to Cagayan de Oro’s 3,770 cases. Valencia City placed third with 666 cases; Quezon, Bukidnon places fifth with 531 cases; Manolo Fortich at sixth with 393 cases and Maramag at seventh with 260 cases.
Bioco stressed that if ADAR hits 20, MECQ should be imposed, not GCQ.
“Why wait? (for the entire province to be at critical risk). It is just a matter of time that Bukidnon will be getting consistently greater than 500 cases per day province-wide,” said Bioco.
Technically as per IATF protocol, Bioco said, we are only high risk” as ADAR level province-wide is still less than 20.
“If you isolate some LGUs, we are critical. Do you think the virus knows political boundaries?” he added.
Imposing MECQ is appropriate, he added, because there is no need to give ayuda (quarantine assistance). “That has been the concern of the local government units,” he added.
Bioco also hit a supposed rule of DOH observing 200% increase in cases to declare critical risk.
DOH-10 reported that as of August 24, in Northern Mindanao, only Lanao del Norte and Iligan City are high risk in terms of the two-week growth rate comparison at 307.36% and 201.76%, respectively. Bukidnon only has 34. 77% or medium risk. DOH considers rates below 200% as “medium” and 200% above as “high”.
Bioco said it is only applicable if the incidence is still low, like a shift from ADAR 3 to ADAR 9 with 6 % points increase.
“But, once ADAR goes up from 20, the 200% rule is no longer relevant. Do we wait until ADAR increases farther to 60 before we declare critical?“ he asked.
“We need to remind everyone to follow minimum health protocol and stay at home unless for essentials. Let us all take care,” he added.
He said hope comes if more vaccines arrive so that it won’t hurt much if Delta peaks cases in the province. He projected that Bukidnon will peak 2,500 cases per day before it will start decreasing.
“That peak can be halved if we achieve 50% above vaccination,” said Bioco.
He projected that if by chance 50% of Bukidnon will get hit by Delta, with probability of 30 to 60 days, the province will experience having 1,250 to 2,500 cases a day. He assumed that 10% will be intercepted by testing.
“We are already hitting near 500 cases, so from now to 30~60 days, 1,250 per day is not remote. 2,500 maybe extreme but still possible,” he added.
Bioco said the current situation is already at ECQ level sans the ayuda (quarantine assistance).
The MGCQ is the most relaxed of the four community quarantine phases. Next is the GCQ, the MECQ, and then the ECQ. At MGCQ, all persons are allowed outside residences. If escalated to MECQ, Bukidnon will impose 100% stay at home except for front liners. In terms of transportation, in MGCQ public transport is allowed with strict social distancing but in MECQ, no public transport is allowed. In terms of magnitude of case infections, “ECQ” is critical zone, “MECQ” is containment zone, “GCQ” is buffer zone, and “MGCQ” is “outside of buffer zone”. (BukidnonNews.Net)
IN PHOTO: A government employee submits himself for rapid antigen testing in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon