The number of COVID-19 cases in the province has decreased in the past two weeks.
As reported by PDRRMO Rhodyn Lunchinvar Oro, this can be attributed to various factors undertaken by the Pangasinan Provincial Government in partnership with the local IATF to include strict monitoring of border checkpoints, vaccination drive, the request of the Provincial Government for National IATF to put Pangasinan under GCQ with heighten restrictions and the cooperation of different sectors to include the general public.
As stated by PDRRMO Rhodyn Lunchinvar Oro, the number of COVID-19 cases had decreased over the past two weeks as he further disclosed that possibility to downgrade the present GCQ with heighten restrictions status will depend on the result until the end of this month.
It was disclosed by Col. Oro that the average cases from October 1 to 15 was 202. “For September the average was 249 in which the highest number of cases was tallied on September 15 with a record high of 878,” he said as he added that the highest recorded cases for this month was only 475 last October 5.
For the isolation units, Col. Oro also stated that the isolation utilization rate was 21.74% whereas latest rate was posted at 6.75% or about 116 against the total isolation capacity of the province of 1,718.
Hence, he stressed that the different strategies undertaken by the Provincial IATF paid off. The following are some of the strategies pointed out by Col. Oro: declaration of Pangasinan under GCQ with heighten restrictions, adoption of walk-in vaccination for different sectors, letter request sent to Secretary Galvez for the increase of vaccines in Pangasinan, hiring of additional health personnel, retention of contact tracers, continuous implementation of S-PASS with the support of PNP, longer operation hours of the Pangasinan Molecular Laboratory, among others.
On the vaccination drive, Provincial Health Officer Anna Maria Teresa De Guzman disclosed that as of present, there are a total of 857,439 Pangasinenses who were inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines.
In the question hour conducted during the regular physical session of the Pangasinan Provincial Board on October 18, Dr. De Guzman stressed that the number of inoculated individuals represent 43.4% of the total target eligible population of almost two million as set by the Dept. of Health (DOH).
Of the total inoculated individuals, there are 387,429 or about 20% received full vaccination while 470,010 or 23.8% received only first dose of vaccine. Those who received first dose, according to the PHO chief, are expected to complete their vaccines before the end of this month.
In addition, Dr. De Guzman stated that all local government units (LGUs) in the province will conduct vaccination rollout with a daily target of about 25,000 to 30,000 individuals.
For the booster shots intended for those with Sinovac vaccines, Dr. De Guzman stressed that the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested to give priority on inoculating the rest of the eligible targets first before giving booster shots.
Meanwhile, the provincial health officer urged Pangasinenses to get vaccinated regardless of what type of vaccines available. “Basta may 1st dose na, may proteksyon na sila,” she noted. She likewise urged all LGU partners to cover far-flung areas as she said that accessibility is a vital factor.
On biases in the type of vaccines, Dr. De Guzman said all vaccines are proven to be an additional layer of protection for all regardless of what brand. “We have high acceptance rate at pila-pila ang pumupunta sa mga vaccination centers. We encourage others to get vaccinated. Priority pa din ang immuno-compromised pero catered na din ang mga 18 years old and above,” she stated.
Expressing concern on the reported exorbitant prices of coronavirus medicines, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Jeremy Agerico Rosario stated that there is a need for the provincial government to intervene by monitoring the prices, strict implementation of suggested retail price (SRP) and penalizing violators of the Price Act.
As such, Board Member Rosario who chairs the committee on health, suggested the crafting of a resolution for the creation of a Provincial Local Price Coordinating Council. “The council will be tasked to oversee proper implementation of existing price and regulations. They will have a mandate to file criminal charges against violators of the Price Act of 1992,” he stressed.
Dir. Gomel C. Gabuna of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) North Luzon Cluster vowed to work hand-in-hand with the provincial government while PNP Provincial Director Ronald Gayo assured the provincial board that protocols on border checkpoints provided by the IATF will be strictly implemented by their agency.
Also present during the question hour were Dr. Jovito Rivera who heads the Pangasinan Medical Society and FDA OIC-Supervisor Veronica F. Obille.
/Ruby R. Bernardino