Despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalization due to the disease has yet to increase, Health Secretary Ted Herbosa said Tuesday.
“Our cases in the hospitals are not increasing. So what does that mean? Even if our numbers of COVID-19 are reportedly higher, our hospitals are not yet getting filled up by cases of COVID-19,” Herbosa said in an interview on ANC.
According to Herbosa, the Department of Health (DOH) recently observed a 50% rise in cases during a one-week period.
However, he said the public worry not only about COVID-19 but also other respiratory illnesses such as influenza and influenza-like illnesses.
“So the previous recommendations during the time of the pandemic, of wearing masks, especially if you are immunocompromised, would be a good idea,” Herbosa said.
He also advised individuals to get rapid antigen tests if symptoms develop.
“You can test every other day, starting on the day you get symptoms. And once you test positive, you isolate for five days. And then you can test again if you want, but you continue to wear the mask for ten days,” he said.
The Health Secretary also differentiated between individuals who died due to COVID-19 and those who died with COVID-19.
Herbosa said that during the height of the pandemic, everyone who tested positive for the virus was regarded as a COVID-19 death.
However, after the DOH recently recorded 16 new deaths, he said the DOH found that most had died of concomitant illnesses.
“So the way I described that is they died with COVID. So it means their immune system was down, they had some major illness like the heart condition, or diabetes, or kidney, and COVID came on as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, Herbosa said that the percentage of immunized children decreased with the Philippines ranking high among countries with zero-dose children.
He said compliance with vaccination of children is at 71%.
“We’ve had several experiences in the past, mistrust in the vaccine, social media is not helping us. There’s a lot of anti-vaxxers on social media and it’s converting parents from not having their children vaccinated,” Herbosa said.
“But what I can say on TV is that probably vaccines are the most important innovation in public health. They have saved millions of lives for the proven ones like measles, rubella, and chicken pox. I think these are things we should have our children get,” he added.
Herbosa stressed that the government provides vaccinations for hepatitis, measles, mumps, and rubella, among others.
“Not a single shot of vaccine. And we provide that. The government buys all of that for all the children,” he said. — Joahna Lei Casilao/RSJ, GMA Integrated News
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