Hospitalization for COVID-19 has gone up in Metro Manila, independent researchers said Wednesday.
The OCTA Research Group said the COVID-19 health care utilization rate (HCUR) in the National Capital Region (NCR) rose to 35.6 percent as of July 25, an increase over the 31.7 percent recorded on July 24.
The Department of Health (DOH) defines HCUR as the aggregate of the utilization of intensive care units (ICU), isolation beds, and mechanical ventilators.
On Wednesday, the country logged 2,727 new COVID-19 cases, of which 986 were from Metro Manila, DOH data showed.
Active cases stood at 27,754 — the highest since April 10.
In a tweet, OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David said the ICU utilization rate in Metro Manila also slightly increased to 28 percent from 27.3 percent on July 24.
Based on the latest data, David said HCUR in Muntinlupa, with 64.6 percent, and Pasig, with 56.4 percent, were at moderate risk.
Other areas have 50% and below HCUR such as Manila (29.7 percent), Caloocan (33.7 percent), Las Piñas (40.6 percent), Makati (49 percent), Malabon (50 percent), Mandaluyong (18.9 percent), Marikina (47 percent), Navotas (16.7 percent), Parañaque (19.1 percent), San Juan (44.6 percent), Valenzuela (32.5 percent), Pasay (29 percent), Quezon City (40.9 percent), and Taguig (27.2 percent).
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said the country may see an increase in hospital utilization rate by the end of August or start of September due to COVID-19 infections.
DOH officer-in-charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that based on their projections, the COVID-19 cases nationally may escalate to 1,800 to 11,000 next month if the booster uptake does not improve.
The DOH said it will tap populated places such as offices, terminals, malls, and even schools as vaccination sites as it aims to boost 50 percent of the target population against COVID-19 within the first 100 days of the Marcos administration.
In other developments:
The former presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the private sector lost a total of P5.1 billion from 4.25 million expired COVID-19 vaccines. He criticized the Department of Health and the Health Technology Assessment Council’s (HTAC) “belated decision” to allow the second booster vaccinations for people 50 years and older and for 18 to 49 year-olds with comorbidities. In a statement, he said the final batch of AstraZeneca vaccines will expire on July 31, while the last Moderna vaccines expired Wednesday, July 27. Out of the total, 3,629,150 are Moderna vaccines, he said. This means only Pfizer vaccines are left for first and second boosters, he said.
A pair of new studies published in the journal Science said an animal market in China’s Wuhan really was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first paper analyzed the geographic pattern of Covid cases in the outbreak’s first month, December 2019, showing the first cases were tightly clustered around Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. The second examined genomic data from the earliest cases to study the virus’ early evolution, concluding it was unlikely the coronavirus circulated widely in humans prior to November 2019. Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona, who co-authored both papers, had previously called on the scientific community in a letter to be more open to the idea that the virus was the result of a lab leak. But the findings moved him “to the point where now I also think it’s just not plausible that this virus was introduced any other way than through the wildlife trade at the Wuhan market,” he told reporters on a call.