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DOH logs fewer COVID-19 cases during holidays

MANILA, Philippines — At least 585 injuries related to the New Year revelry have been recorded by the Department of Health (DOH) as of yesterday.

“There are 585 injuries overall – with 581 due to fireworks, one due to watusi ingestion, and three stray bullet injuries (SBI),” the latest Fireworks-Relate d Injuries (FWRI) of the DOH said.

More than half of the cases are from the National Capital Region or NCR (311 or 54 percent) followed by the Ilocos region (58 cases or 10 percent), Calabarzon (47 or eight percent) and Central Luzon (42 or seven percent).

Ninety-six percent of injuries happened at home and in the streets, mostly to males with active involvement.

The top ranking identified fireworks that cause a majority (64 percent) of FWRIs, in descending order, are kwitis, 5-star, whistle bomb, pla-pla, boga, luces and fountain.

Illegal fireworks (5-star, pla-pla, boga) are to blame for just four out of every ten cases (220 or 38 percent), with legal fireworks causing more injuries.

Included in DOH’s latest count of FWRI are the 28 new cases recorded from 6 a.m. of Jan. 3 to 5:59 a.m. of Jan. 4.

The DOH said there are two more confirmed SBIs in addition to the one case recorded last Tuesday.

One SBI case is a 28-year-old male from NCR who suffered a fracture in his second toe of the left foot. The other is a 60-year-old male from Cordillera Administrative Region who suffered a fracture in his left collar bone.

The DOH said close coordination is ongoing between DOH and the Philippine National Police for all reports of SBIs.

The 28 new cases were mostly injuries due to fireworks (26) except for the two new SBIs. The new cases range from 6 to 62 years old with nearly nine out of ten (23 or 88 percent) cases being males.

Almost all (25 or 96 percent) of these new cases occurred at home and in the streets. The majority (13 or 52 percent) of cases were due to legal fireworks. There were nine persons hospitalized due to their injuries.

“Let us be reminded that injuries and deaths from stray bullets and ‘accidents’ due to intoxication are avoidable. Guns, fireworks, and liquor should not mix,” said the DOH.

“Law enforcement, local leaders, and communities must work together to create a safer and healthier community, especially during these times of celebration,” it added.

MANILA, Philippines — Only a few new COVID cases were recorded during the holidays, according to the Department of Health (DOH), as it denied reports that a new wave of the coronavirus was sweeping Metro Manila.

“From November to December, the percentage of occupied ICU beds for COVID cases remained low at 16 percent at its highest and averaged at 12 percent,” the DOH said in a statement.

The health agency said that during the same period, the number of occupied non-ICU beds for COVID cases was also low, at 19 percent at its highest, and averaged at 17 percent. It said a majority of the cases were mild.

“DOH data shows continuous low transmission and mild presentation of COVID locally,” the DOH said.

“Our data also shows a consistently low percentage of severe and critical cases among hospital admissions, currently at 11 percent,” it added.

The DOH said the low figures were achieved as Filipinos chose healthy behavior and heeded the call for multiple layers of protection – using face masks when needed, going to well-ventilated areas ad staying at home when ill,” the agency said.

Health officials also cited high vaccination coverage for the infections.

“Critical cases are minimized, because eight of every 10 eligible senior citizens are protected by a primary vaccine series.”

From Dec. 26, 2023 to Jan. 1, the DOH recorded 3,147 new cases.

The average number of new cases per day this week stood at 450, down 10 percent recorded from Dec. 19 to 25 with 501.

Of the new cases, only 40 or 1.28 percent were considered serious or critically ill.

Health officials said they would closely monitor the trend for any change.

“Everyone is reminded not to be complacent about COVID. We can gather and carry on with our activities, mindful always to choose well-ventilated and good airflow areas,” the DOH said.

The health agency warned the public against a false circulating message attributed to a doctor of St. Luke’s Medical Center that a new COID wave is affecting Metro Manila.

“There is no credible evidence or official announcement from health authorities supporting the assertion of a surge in COVID in St, Luke’s,” the DOH said.

It urged the public to source information only from legitimate sources and platforms such as the health department and other official health organizations.

“Misinformation can contribute to unnecessary panic and fear,” it said.

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