AFTER June when the average COVID-19 cases in Baguio were in the low 50s, it was to the 60s in July.
The OCTA Research Group based in UP Diliman said that Baguio is one of four cities classified as high risk.
But while Davao City and Iloilo’s cases have gone down, Baguio is back to going up, recording an average of 62 new cases per day from July 8 to 14, similar to the preceding week. Its ADAR ADAR (average daily attack rate) was 16.76 percent while its ICU utilization rate at 71 percent is considered moderate.
And it seems there is no silver lining in the COVID cloud.
The vaccines including the 300,000 AstraZeneca vaccines which Baguio procured and are supposedly arriving this month are still in doubt of arriving.
Since two weeks ago, vaccines were only for those taking their second doses.
Baguio is targeting to fully vaccinate 186,861 of its population and so far only 45,021 have completed their vaccination since July 14. Among 76,146 have taken their first dose.
Undaunted, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city aims to expand its vaccination schedule, put up more sites to reach as many target populations, assign and train more personnel to man these sites, and further streamline the process to cut down the vaccination time.
He said the city will increase its vaccination target from 70 percent to 95 percent to really establish herd immunity.
As of now, the City Health Services Office (CHSO) has also upgraded the target from 70 percent to 85 percent, pegging the total target population now at 238,776 individuals from the previous 196,639.
This is computed from the city’s estimated total population of 374,550 fewer persons below 18 years old at 25 percent.
Asst. City Health Officer Dr. Celia Flor Brillantes reported to the Management Committee (ManCom) last July 13 that the vaccination schedule has been expanded to cover all days of the week at the five mega-sites at the St. Louis University, University of Baguio, St. Louis School Inc. at St. Vincent, SM City Baguio and the Baguio Country Club.
She said more vaccination sites will be set up in the coming days, including district and satellite ones to reach as many target populations.
To prepare for this, Dr. Rowena Galpo, head of the CHSO, has been training volunteers from both the government and the private sector to man the sites.
Brillantes said they also continue to review and readjust the vaccination process to further speed up the procedures and increase vaccination coverage.
The mayor has earlier ordered the ramping up of the city’s vaccination rate to counter the anticipated surges in COVID-19 cases due to increased mobility, reopening to tourists, and the threat of the more harmful variants. But the lack of vaccines has snagged said plans, prompting the mayor to appeal for more patience from residents raring to be vaccinated. – Frank Cimatu and Aileen P. Refuerzo