New peaks in COVID-19 cases seen in coming weeks — DOH

New peaks in COVID-19 cases seen in coming weeks â DOH
Residents wait for their turn to get a shot of Sinovac vaccine at the cinema area of a mall in Antipolo City on Aug. 24, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Daily COVID-19 cases in the Philippines may reach new peaks in the coming weeks, the Department of Health said Thursday as the Philippines battles a resurgence in infections.

The DOH on Monday reported 18,332 COVID-19 infections—the highest number of new cases in a single day since the pandemic began.

"In the next days and weeks, we’ll probably see additional peaks," Dr. Alethea De Guzman, DOH Epidemiology Bureau director, said in a briefing.

De Guzman explained that the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases earlier this year began in late February. But cases peaked only in the first week of April.

“We started with around an average of 5,000 cases per day and as we haven’t felt the full effect of the [enhanced community quarantine] yet, there is really a probability that we will still see additional cases,” she said.

De Guzman, however, could not say when infections will hit a peak since the number of cases changes weekly.

Metro Manila was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine—the strictest form of lockdown in the country—from August 6 to 20. Effects of ECQ could be felt in the next two to three weeks, according to DOH officials.  

Rise outside capital region

Health authorities also observed an increase in cases in Luzon, and parts of Visayas and Mindanao.

“It’s actually more challenging now because the increase in cases is not centered on [NCR Plus] alone. It’s actually across all of Luzon and select regions in Visayas and Mindanao,” she said.

More areas in the country are under Alert Level 4, "which really spreads [our resources] thin," De Guzman said. An area is under Alert Level 4 if its risk classification is moderate to critical and it has a healthcare utilization higher than 70%, regardless of the presence of the hyper contagious Delta variant.

The Philippines remained at "high risk" for COVID-19 after recording an average daily attack rate of 12.90 cases per 100,000 population. The country’s two-week growth rate was at 63%.

The utilization rates of hospital beds and mechanical ventilators nationwide were in moderate level at 63.4% and 53.65%, respectively. Meanwhile, the utilization of intensive care unit beds was in the high risk category at 72.98%. — Gaea Katreena Cabico


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