Quezon City maintains drop in new COVID-19 cases
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - September 23, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The number of new COVID-19 cases in Quezon City has dropped for the fourth consecutive week.

In a span of one month, the daily average of new cases in the city dropped from 438 to 196, according to a report from the OCTA Research group, which analyzed data from the Department of Health.

Data showed that there was an average of 438 new cases from Aug. 8 to 14, which then dropped to 334 on Aug. 15 to 21 and 288 on Aug. 22 to 28.

It further dropped to 250 new cases daily on Aug. 29 to Sept. 4, to 196 in the most recent report covering the week of Sept. 5 to 11.

The figure is even lower if it was based on the cases verified by the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU), which dropped from 205 average daily new cases on the week of Aug. 11 to 17 to 102 on Sept. 8 to 14.

“In a span of one month, we have managed to reduce the number of daily cases by 50 percent. This only shows that our efforts to control the spread of the virus are working,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.

“But we should not be complacent. We will continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, especially in public places, homes and in workplaces,” she added in Filipino.

The OCTA Research report also noted the decrease in the reproduction number of the virus in the city, which dropped from 0.92 on the first week of Sept. to 0.79 last week.

The figure indicates the average number of people who will contract a contagious disease from an infected person.

Even with the decrease in average new cases, University of the Philippines professor and OCTA Research group member Ranjit Rye recommended that the city government conduct more tests among residents.

“As of now, the city has an 11-percent positivity rate. The more tests you conduct, the more we can go out of the uncertainty and the better for the city,” he said.

CESU head Rolly Cruz said the city currently conducts 600 to 800 tests per day.

”It is a challenge for our community-based testing sites to do more tests since the national government, through testing czar Vince Dizon, has been actively helping us,” he said.

Joseph Juico, head of the city’s COVID-19 Task Force, said more tests would be conducted once the city’s molecular laboratory is fully operational.

“We are slowly closing in on our target of 1,000 tests per day,” he said, noting that the laboratory can conduct 500 tests daily.

The city government recently announced its partnership with OCTA Research to provide weekly and bi-monthly comprehensive reports on COVID-19 trends in the city.

The independent research group, composed of scholars from the University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas, regularly releases forecasts and policy reports about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Having OCTA Research as our partner gives credibility to our initiatives and data analytics. It helps us to surgically address flattening the curve,” said Belmonte, noting the need to use mathematical and scientific tools to better monitor the disease and guide the city government in its policies.

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