DOH: COVID-19 cases rising in Metro Manila but no surge yet

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DOH: COVID-19 cases rising in Metro Manila but no surge yet
A volunteer medical worker (R) administers a dose of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to a pedicab driver during a vaccination drive for economic frontliners, organised by the vice president's office and city government, in Manila on July 20, 2021.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — While there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, the Department of Health said there is "no definitive evidence" yet that the capital region is seeing a surge in infections. 

"The DOH, however, is closely monitoring daily trends and is immediately flagging areas with increases in rates of transmission based on two-week growth rates, in affected population as per average daily attack rate and/or health care utilization," the DOH said in a statement issued late Tuesday.

It said the capital region was at “moderate risk,” after it showed a 19% increase in its Two-Week Growth Rate and an Average Daily Attack Rate of six cases per 100,000 population. ADAR refers to the number of new cases in an area over a two-week period, divided by the population there.

The cities of Makati, Las Piñas, Pasay, Pasig, Taguig, Paranaque, Manila, Valenzuela, Navotas, Marikina, and Caloocan all have positive TWGR—a trend reversal from negative two-week growth rates weeks ago.

Makati, Las Piñas, and Pasay also have high-risk ADAR.

The agency also noted that the country's health care and intensive care utilization rate was low. That means there are enough hospital beds and facilities to handle cases.

"We acknowledge that there is an increase of our case metrics which is why we urge people to continue adhering to the minimum health standards and get vaccinated, and for our local government units to strictly implement our protocols," DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

Appeal to experts

The department asked “independent experts”—although it did not name a particular entity—to be more careful in making pronouncements as “this may cause more panic and fear.”

“The DOH noted the observations of independent expert groups but maintains that such observations should be carefully verified,” it said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the OCTA Research said in a briefing that a surge in Metro Manila has begun, citing an increase in the region’s reproduction rate to 1.33 from 0.6. Reproduction rate refers to the number of individuals a person positive for COVID-19 can infect.

The research group also called for “circuit-breaker” lockdown for two weeks. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who was in the same briefing, agreed with OCTA on the need for stricter measures. 

The Philippines has so far recorded 1.56 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. Of the figure, 56,477 were active cases.

There are 119 detected cases of the highly-contagious Delta variant in the country. — with report from Christian Deiparine



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