National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – The “aggressive” isolation efforts and the government’s Oplan Kalinga program reduced the number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) by 35 percent, National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Tuesday.

“Sa report po namin kay Presidente, sa buong NCR, 35 percent po ang decline ng cases. Meaning, noong nagsimula po tayo ng Oplan Kalinga, napakabilis ng pagbaba po (Based on our report to the President [Duterte], throughout NCR, the decline in cases is 35 percent. Meaning, when we started Oplan Kalinga, it went down very fast,” Galvez said in a virtual Palace presser.

Galvez said the country has recorded 88,109 active cases on Aug. 14 and reduced to 53,754 on Sept. 14 amid the intensified Oplan Kalinga program.

He said prohibiting home quarantine slashed the Covid-19 cases into 34,355 from Aug. 14 to Sept.14.

He said a total of 24,538 Covid-positive patients were brought to 49 mega quarantine centers and hotels under the program.

“Kung hindi po natin na-isolate iyan baka may dagdag po tayo na (If we didn’t isolate that, we may have another) 100,000 na new cases and it will be compounded exponentially increase. So, napakalaking tulong po talaga ng Oplan Kalinga (is really a huge help),” he said.

Galvez said keeping the infected individual in isolation facilities would prevent an exponential growth of cases.

Kung hindi po natin maa-isolate iyon ay para po tayong nagsasayang lang ng pera sa testing at saka contact tracing (If we will not isolate them, it seems like we’re just wasting money for testing and contact tracing,” he added.

Under the program, the local government units (LGUs) are tasked to directly fetch Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms from their homes and brought to government quarantine facilities.

The program has earlier aimed at reducing the risks of local transmission within communities and households.

Meanwhile, Galvez cited an expert’s remarks that while the government commits to providing adequate treatment for Covid-19 patients, at some point, non-Covid-19 patients are compromised.

As a response, Galvez said the government is also considering the non-Covid cases in implementing strategies and plans amid the pandemic.

During the spike of Covid-19 cases in Cebu City and as the government tried to address the increasing number of cases, he said at least 20 dialysis machines were also provided for the non-Covid-19 patients—balancing the treating procedures for both patients to prevent more fatalities.

Based on the data from the Department of Health (DOH), the primary cause of deaths is communicable diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and those non-communicable diseases including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer.

“So iyon po ang sinasabi po natin sa ating mga LGU na kung maaari magkaroon sila ng desisyon na magkaroon sila ng Covid-dedicated hospital at saka ang mga tinatawag nating non-Covid hospital para po hindi ma-compromise ang ating mga tinatawag na mga critical patient (This is what we are telling to the [local government units], as much possible they should decide to acquire Covid-dedicated hospitals and non-Covid hospitals so that critical patients will not be compromised),” Galvez said.

To date, Galvez said the country has now 122 Level 3-hospitals that can accommodate surgical and intensive care unit (ICU) beds.

Galvez, meanwhile, said the country will still be needing 54,000 more beds to accommodate infected patients.

He added that there is still a need to increase the number of those Level 3-hospitals particularly in Central Luzon and Bicol Regions so that NCR “will not be overwhelmed.”

“I-increase din po natin ang mga tinatawag nating mga facilities doon sa mga regional hubs, katulad ng mga city natin sa Visayas at saka sa Mindanao (We should also increase facilities at our regional hubs in the cities in Visayas and Mindanao),” he said.

Galvez said the funds under Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2) can be used to increase the country’s beds capacities, building more quarantine facilities, dormitories for the front-liners and hiring 10,000 healthcare workers. (PNA)