There was no reported increase of COVID-19 cases among children since last August 22, the start of school year 2022-2023, that saw a widespread resumption of in-person classes, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday.
At the same time, the DOH reported 722 new Delta and Omicron subvariant cases in the country.
According to Health Undersecretary Beverly So, the DOH remained supportive of in-person classes, but also recognizes that COVID-19 cases might be imminent due to increased mobility among the youngsters.
“Categorically speaking, when we are looking at the trends for pediatric population since Aug. 22, we didn’t really see an uptick,” Ho said during a press briefing.
“But what is important for all of us is to recognize two things: one is klaro sa amin (it’s clear to us) that the face-to-face learning is superior, not just for education but for the health, holistic development ng mga bata. So we’re very supportive of that,” Ho said.
“Second is we need to recognize that as we go out of our houses, magkaka-uptick tayo (we will have an uptick). It’s just a matter of time. But we want to reassure everyone, that’s why we have technologies like vaccines,” she said.
Ho said that hospital admission rates have not increased.
“The more we go full blast face-to-face, it will really go up. What we don’t want is the number of cases increasing alongside the hospital admission. But if the cases increase and hospital admission did not, we’ve done our job. We’ve protected ourselves enough from vaccines,” she said.
Department of Education (DepEd) spokesman Michael Poa said the agency was still collating data on how many learners have been inoculated against COVID-19.
The vaccination rate among teachers was at 92 percent to 96 percent, he said.
Poa also said the DepEd does not “want to give conflicting figures to the public” when asked about the number of COVID-19 infections in schools, adding that the agency would defer the matter to local governments.
The DepEd and DOH continue to hold COVID-19 vaccination campaigns and counseling in schools to encourage more learners, parents and teachers to get the jab.
Meanwhile, Ho said the DOH plans to conduct a supplemental immunization campaign during the first quarter of 2023 to address low routine immunization rates and prevent a possible measles outbreak.
The DOH, in a report released on Tuesday, said 605 new BA.5 Omicron subvariant cases were detected based on the sequencing results from October 7 to 10.
Some 93 new Delta cases were also reported, while one case is still being verified.
The DOH said 18 cases of BA.4 and five cases of BA.2.75 were recorded.
Meanwhile, the DOH also said there were 680 cases of other Omicron sublineages, as well as 171 cases of “no assigned lineage” and one case of “other lineage assigned.”
DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier encouraged the public to get their COVID-19 booster jabs to prevent the increase of severe and critical cases.
Based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website, the Omicron subvariants under monitoring as of October 4, 2022 are BA.5, BA.2.75, BJ.1, and BA.4.6.
The DOH reported that 2,106 new COVID-19 cases were monitored in the country on Monday, with active infections now at 26,014.
It was the fifth straight day of more than 2,000 new cases reported. However, active cases further dipped from the 26,357 recorded on Sunday. Willie Casas