An outbreak of the Delta virus in Puerto Princesa City will have an even deadlier consequence compared to what it went through during the surge of COVID-19 cases that began in March, according to the Incident Management Team (IMT).
Dr. Dean Palanca, IMT Commander, in an interview with Palawan News, said they have projected a worst-case scenario of the more aggressive and deadly strain of the virus hitting Puerto Princesa City.
Dr. Palanca shared the unofficial scenario generation of the City IMT where they compared data from the previous outbreak that occurred in late March of this year to the possible Delta outbreak, which according to them, could strike within this year.
The team projected at least 270 daily cases and approximately six COVID deaths per day, almost double from the previous surge with only 150 daily cases and an average of three casualties every day.
With the new variant spreading, more than 43,000 locals are expected to be infected with the virus, and more than 12,000 may become close contacts.
Palanca pointed out that there are only 15 intensive care units (ICUs) and 60 dedicated COVID beds available in the four city hospitals. This will not be sufficient to meet an estimated 661 ICUs and beds that may be needed if a Delta outbreak happens.
Palanca noted that aside from the lack of resources, the city also lacks the manpower to supervise the patients.
“Saan mo ilalagay na mga hospitals ‘yan kung wala naman tayong personnel na magma-man sa mga taong ‘yon. ‘Yan ang kailangang tutukan ng city government din,” he said.
Also, the testing center capacity which currently caters to 600 individuals a day may demand an increase to 9,000 during the outbreak. While quarantine and isolation facilities, which now have approximately 600 beds, may require more than 3000 beds for mild and symptomatic patients.
With these, Palanca urged local residents to prepare, physically, and financially, for the threats of the Delta variant that may enter the city.
He stressed that the COVID variant is already imminent, and the public is best advised to prepare early.
Preparing, according to him, means doubling everyone’s efforts in securing a healthy immune system because the Delta variant is 60% more transmissible than any other variant of the virus. He emphasized that by getting vaccinated, a person has at least a good chance of fighting the deadly variant.
“Maliban sa pagsunod sa ating mga minimum public health standard lalo na ang paggamit ng surgical mask, hindi ng cloth mask ha, and then yung paggamit ng alcohol, washing your hands, physical or social distancing sana di mawala ‘yan at kung may sintomas, humingi ng tulong, may COVID hotline tayo,” he said.
“Yung vaccination ay talagang i-push. Lahat ng high-risk individuals unahin to protect them para tamaan man ng COVID kahit Delta variant ay at least nabigyan mo ng laban para mabuhay at makayanan niya kesa naman sa wala talaga siyang bakuna, walang laban,” the doctor added.
He further encouraged everyone to start spending less on unnecessary luxuries and start saving for essential items like rice, canned goods, medicines, among others, should the city impose a hard lockdown similar to what took place in March 2020.
Meanwhile, the City IMT, together with the local IATF and the local government unit will meet on Friday to discuss concerns about the Delta variant.