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Governor laments lack of vaccine as Zamboanga Sibugay braces for COVID-19 surge

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Gov. Wilter Palma, during the virtual meeting of the provincial pandemic task force Thursday, said the solution to the “rising cases of COVID-19  is vaccination” over stricter community quarantine. (Photo courtesy: Darwin Dalisay)

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY

Gov. Wilter Palma wants to ramp up the vaccination amid the surge of COVID-19 cases in the last few days but lamented the lack of vaccines.

Palma, during the virtual meeting of the provincial pandemic task force Thursday, said the solution to the rising cases of COVID-19  is to ramp up the vaccination. He ruled out the return to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) because the people will suffer.

The province has already vaccinated over 10 percent of more than 600,000 population – way below the 70 percent to achieve herd immunity.

“But the problem is we don’t have vaccines for the last two weeks,” the governor revealed.

Compounding the problem, he said, is the hesitancy of some people especially the senior citizens to be vaccinated.

Rising cases

The province has seen the COVID-19 cases surged for the last three days averaging 30 confirmed cases a day.

Dr. Ulysses Silorio said the (COVID-19) cases are rising that need more stringent measures.

Most of the confirmed cases are those in the 21-30 age bracket, followed by persons aged 31-40.

Zamboanga Sibugay has the second highest COVID-19 cases in Zamboanga Peninsula as of August 23, records from the Department of Health (DOH) shows.

DOH has placed the province under Alert Level 3.

The Alert Level 3 classification means the cases are increasing towards 70 percent of the health care capacity, Silorio explained.

Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Hospital, the only COVID facility in the province has 29 beds.

As of August 25, according to Dr. Sherwin Bastero, chief of hospital, the hospital bed occupancy rate is at 65.52 percent.

Of the 29 beds, Bastero said, 19 beds are occupied and 10 more cases are waiting for the swab test results.

Changing situation

The province has experienced the surge after it logged its first case of Delta variant early this month.

“Delta (variant) is in air,” the governor said. He did not elaborate.

He is considering the proposal of requiring antigen tests for all individuals who will enter the province. But he will need more time to study the proposal.

In the meantime, he said, the province will implement again quarantine passes to regulate the movement of the people.

Palma called on the public to cooperate as cases are rising. He urged everyone to strictly follow the health protocols. (amm)

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