1,011 new BA.5, 19 BA.4 cases detected – DOH

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
1,011 new BA.5, 19 BA.4 cases detected â DOH
People walk past a sidewalk vendor in Quiapo in Manila on August 5, 2022.
AFP / Jam Sta. Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — More than 1,000 additional COVID-19 Omicron subvariant cases have been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) reported yesterday.

The DOH said the latest genome sequencing results showed an additional 1,011 BA.5 cases and 19 BA.4 cases.

“At the moment, the exposure of these individuals, travel histories and health status are being verified,” the DOH said.

As to the additional BA.5 cases, all regions, except the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), have at least one case reported.

Among these cases, 690 are fully vaccinated, 12 are partially vaccinated and three are unvaccinated, while the vaccination status of the remaining 306 is still being verified.

The DOH said 907 individuals are now tagged as recovered, 53 are still undergoing isolation, two have died while the outcome of the remaining 49 is being verified. There are a total of 5,214 BA.5 cases in the country.

As for the additional BA.4 cases, 12 were from Soccsksargen, three each from Bicol Region and Western Visayas, and one from Cordillera Administrative Region.

Thirteen of them are fully vaccinated, one is partially vaccinated while the vaccination status of the remaining five are still being verified.

The DOH said 15 are now tagged as recovered, three are still in isolation and one has died. It added that the country now has a total of 168 BA.4 cases.

The Philippines has recorded on Monday 3,484 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total nationwide tally to 3,835,422, the DOH said.

Latest available data from the DOH showed active cases decreased to 38,982 from Sunday’s record of 40,016, while recoveries went up to 3,735,362 and deaths reached 61,078.

For the past two weeks, the National Capital Region (NCR) recorded the highest number of new cases with 15,888 followed by Calabarzon (10,148), Central Luzon (5,276), Western Visayas (2,823) and Cagayan Valley (2,388).

The DOH also said that 16,131 individuals were tested for COVID-19 on Aug. 14, bringing total administered tests to 30,009,301.

NCR positivity rate

The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in the NCR is now on a downward trend, with the positivity rate dropping from 17.3 percent on Aug. 7 to 16.1 percent on Aug. 14, OCTA Research Group fellow Guido David said yesterday.

According to David, the one-week growth rate of new cases in NCR also went down to -7, indicating a decrease in average new cases.

Data from the DOH also showed that the region reported an average of 1,270 new cases from Aug. 9 to 15, down from 1,299 from the preceding week.

“While cases may have already peaked in the NCR, the trends will need to hold as trends are still reversible. The risk level in the NCR remains moderate,” said David.

The World Health Organization recommends a positivity rate of five percent or lower to effectively manage the pandemic.

Not allowed

With full in-person classes set to be implemented this school year, Department of Education (DepEd) spokesman Michael Poa said the agency, along with the budget and interior departments, would issue a joint memorandum circular prohibiting the use of school facilities as isolation or quarantine facilities and as long-term evacuation centers.

“Long stays will no longer be allowed. Our schools cannot be used as evacuation centers for more than three weeks. This is already drafted. We are just finalizing it,” Poa said in Filipino during the Laging Handa briefing.

Poa said they are coordinating with local government units (LGUs) to ensure that schools are free from isolation equipment once classes start on Aug. 22.

Even before the pandemic, DepEd has been pushing for the establishment of separate evacuation facilities to minimize disruption in the conduct of classes.

Poa added that the DepEd is also coordinating with the DOH for the conduct of counseling sessions with students, teachers and other stakeholders to encourage them to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

During the launch of Oplan Balik Eskwela on Monday, DepEd Undersecretary for Governance and Field Operations Revsee Escobedo said only around 37,000 of the more than 800,000 public school teachers have yet to be vaccinated. Some 20,000 of them have signed up for vaccination, he added. – Janvic Mateo


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