In Bicol, late call for help seen in high COVID-19 mortality

LEGAZPI CITY — Most fatalities in Bicol region from COVID-19 did not call for medical help early enough when they could benefit from a health service that could have healed them had they availed themselves of it early on.

“Based on the mortality review conducted by the DOH Bicol together with San Lazaro Hospital and other hospitals in the region, most of those who died from COVID-19 (squandered their chances of survival) due to late consultation,” said Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit head Aurora Teresa Daluro, explaining that late consultation was a key factor in the region’s higher COVID-19 case fatality rate.

As of October 7, exactly 82 people in the region have died of the disease, with a case fatality rate of 4.07 percent. The national case fatality rate is at 1.8 percent, according to the Department of Health.

Daluro said the review also found that many of these deaths had involved one or more other diseases or comorbid conditions such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, which made it hard for the patients to survive.

“We are appealing to the public to consult immediately to the nearest hospital or health facility in their area if they experience some symptoms,” she said.

“Immediate medical attention is very important.”

Daluro said the review has also shown that many of these fatalities were senior citizens and majority of the infections involved people aged 21-30.

“Based on the demographic profile of the patients, most are 21 to 30 years old because they are those who are always outside of their home to work and run some errands for their family, unlike those minors and senior citizens who are advised or required to stay at home,” she said.

The review also revealed a trend-- more infections among men than women.
“But it does not mean that boys are more prone to get the virus. All of us, whether male or female, are at risk of getting the virus so we must strictly follow the minimum health standards. Like what we always say, prevention is better than cure,” she said.

She added that the number of active cases in the region may double or triple if people become complacent. (Casandra E. Balala/PIA5/DOH5)