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NCR down to ‘moderate’ risk classification – DOH

Shiela Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
NCR down to âmoderateâ risk classification â DOH
A mural of a man wearing a mask can be seen at Maginhawa Street in Quezon City on Sept. 22, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

But DOH suspects low testing

MANILA, Philippines — After seeing a decline in COVID cases in the past days, the National Capital Region (NCR) is now down to “moderate” risk classification, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted that the growth rate of cases was down to negative one, from 34 percent two weeks ago.

On the other hand, the average daily attack rate (ADAR) per 100,000 population in the region is at 36.59, down from the previous 37.11. The seven-day average of COVID infections also decreased by 1,362 cases or 23 percent.

“As we go along, we are seeing a slow decrease in cases in NCR, but we have to analyze the situation. There are many factors that might have contributed to this,” she said.

The “biggest factor” being considered by the DOH is the decreased output of COVID-19 testing laboratories.

Vergeire said they are working with local government units (LGUs) to determine why the daily testing for COVID-19 has decreased.

Data showed lower reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction tests were done in NCR, where the largest decline was recorded. From 287,548 tests done the previous week, last week’s tests were lower by 29,501 or 10.3 percent, with positive individuals falling from 66,654 to 50,194 cases.

Because of this, Vergeire said it is too early to announce that COVID-19 cases in the region had really declined, adding that they could not yet recommend lowering the Alert Level for NCR from Level 4 to 3.

“We need to be very sure so we won’t misguide or mislead our public. We should base everything on our data,” Vergeire said.

Dropping cases

All LGUs in NCR have recorded a decrease in average new COVID-19 cases over the past week, OCTA Research fellow Guido David said yesterday.

David said that based on DOH data from Sept. 17 to 23, the NCR recorded an average of 4,480 new cases per day, down 22 percent from the preceding week. Among metro LGUs, Navotas had the largest decline at -66 percent, followed by Pateros (-42 percent), Malabon (-38 percent), Caloocan (-33 percent), Las Piñas (-32 percent) and Taguig (-25 percent).

The reproduction number in the metro also fell to 0.97. Thirteen out of the 17 LGUs in NCR now have a reproduction of less than 1.0, with Navotas having the lowest number (0.57).

LGUs with a reproduction number of over 1.0 include Mandaluyong (1.13), Quezon City (1.15), San Juan (1.18) and Marikina (1.22).

San Juan had the highest ADAR of 67.92 infections per 100,000 population, followed by Makati (49.37), Pasig (45.53), Pateros (44.8) and Mandaluyong (44.64).

Aside from Metro Manila, cases also decreased in Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Cebu City and Davao City.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it has already prepositioned as many as 17,000 family food packs worth P13.2 million ready for pickup by LGUs in NCR areas under granular lockdown up to Sept. 30.

The DSWD National Resource and Logistics Management Bureau said they have allocated 1,000 food packs for each LGU.

The provision of family food packs is a “co-sharing responsibility” of DSWD and the concerned NCR LGUs. –  Janvic Mateo, Rainier Allan Ronda

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