COVID-19 cases rise in 7 Metro Manila areas

Commuters queue for the free ride at the MRT-3 North Avenue Station in Quezon City on Monday morning, March 28, 2022. The MRT-3 offers free rides to commuters for a month, from March 28 to April 30, following the completion of the rehabilitation project of the train system and as part of the government's effort to help ease the commuters' financial burden.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Over a week after the May 9 general elections, the Department of Health (DOH) has recorded a slight increase in new COVID-19 cases in six cities and the lone municipality in Metro Manila.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said while the Philippines has managed to sustain its minimal risk category for COVID-19, there are some areas that have been classified as low risk.

“There are some areas that posted positive growth rate over the past weeks, but the increase in COVID infections is two to 30 cases,” Vergeire said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

According to a report from the DOH surveillance units, Pasig was classified as low risk after 17 new COVID-19 infections were recorded in the city in the past two weeks, bringing to 69 the total number of active COVID cases.

The DOH said Caloocan, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Pasay, Quezon City and Pateros posted reproduction growth in COVID-19 cases.

Despite the uptick in COVID cases, the DOH said the National Capital Region maintains lower average daily attack rates or ADAR, with fewer than 180 active cases recorded in the NCR.

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“The increase in COVID cases is not significant enough to result in higher admissions to hospitals or translate to critical cases,” Vergeire said.

The DOH on Tuesday confirmed local transmission of the more contagious Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 in Metro Manila.

Vergeire said COVID infections continue to drop nationwide, with 157 average daily cases. The figure is lower compared to 254 daily average cases in December 2021 before the Omicron surge.

She said the country’s healthcare utilization rate is less than 20 percent, with 17 percent for COVID ward beds and about 16 percent for intensive care unit beds.

“There are some areas that we are monitoring because of the increase in hospital admissions,” Vergeire said.

She said the DOH is looking for ways to help hospitals avoid being overwhelmed if COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

In Malabon, the city government logged one active COVID-19 case on Tuesday.

The patient gave birth at the Tondo Medical Center, according to Nico Pascual, who heads the city epidemiology and surveillance unit.

The patient tested positive for COVID after she underwent RT-PCR test at a health facility in Malabon.

She is not vaccinated and did not manifest any symptoms of the disease, Pascual said. – Ghio Ong

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