DOH COVID-19 bulletins report only severe cases, deaths from March 7

Coronavirus bulletins will also be issued weekly, instead of daily, to mark a change in the parameters used to assess the pandemic situation in the Philippines.

MANILA, Philippines – On the day Metro Manila and most of the country transitioned to a “new normal” under the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health (DOH) announced it would stop reporting daily news of new coronavirus cases.

Instead, the department will only issue weekly bulletins showing the number of severe cases and deaths and hospital intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy rates, Undersecretary of Health Maria Rosario said. Vergeire on Tuesday March 1st.

“From March 7, ie Monday of next week, we will publish a revised bulletin in which we will focus on serious and critical cases and the use of our intensive care units. Previously, we published case numbers. This will change,” she said at a press briefing in Malacañang.

“As for frequency, it will be once a week compared to before where we were posting case bulletins daily,” she added.

For now, the DOH’s COVID-19 tracker will continue to show daily additions in case counts. But “eventually” it would also be revised to reflect only weekly, not daily, changes in the number of cases. The COVID-19 Tracker is a publicly available online repository of the country’s pandemic data, with visualizations of workloads.

This new way of informing the public about the pandemic situation will be “permanent”, even if the country experiences an increase in cases, Vergeire said.

“In terms of the number of cases, if it’s mild, we treat it as if it’s part of our lives. We are living with the virus, we are focusing on the essentials,” the health department spokesperson said.

Reasoning

The public communication strategy is justified by the current nature of the pandemic, Vergeire sought to explain.

“We want to remove the mindset of our compatriots to focus on the numbers because we have seen during this Omicron situation that the virus characteristic has become softer compared to the Delta variant,” he said. she declared.

However, despite this optimism, government officials and experts are acutely aware that new variants of COVID-19 could still emerge, including those that can evade defenses triggered by vaccines.

Yet, Vergeire said, the government believes the number of serious and critical cases and the risk of hospitals being overwhelmed “should be the consequence that people care about”, not the number of new cases, the majority of which are likely to be mild or asymptomatic cases anyway.

In December, the DOH also planned to stop posting daily COVID-19 updates on social media, but that was scuttled by the post-holiday and Omicron surge soon after.

DOH social media updates on the COVID-19 situation include information such as the number of new cases, recoveries and deaths reported for the day. It also shows the current number and status of active cases, the national positivity rate, as well as the status of bed occupancy nationally and in the National Capital Region.

The de-escalation to Alert Level 1 for most of the country was precipitated by a reduction in COVID-19 cases after Omicron surges earlier in the year, and much higher vaccination rates in centers urban. Metro Manila, for example, has achieved 100% immunization coverage for its target adult population. – Rappler.com

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