The decline in the number of COVID-19 cases is real, not artificial, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.
“We have already confirmed that we are seeing that cases are decreasing based on not just the number of cases but also the number of admissions in our hospitals and the positivity rate,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a mix of English and Filipino on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
This was as the independent OCTA Research Group said Metro Manila, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, was winning against the more infectious Delta variant.
OCTA fellow Guido David said the reproduction number, or the number of people one COVID-19 case can infect, was 0.63 in Metro Manila, which was last seen from July 31 to Aug. 6.
The COVID-19 positivity rate in Metro Manila, on the other hand, is at 12 percent.
According to the DOH COVID-19 tracker as of Oct. 9, the bed occupancy rate in the country was at 56.5 percent or 23,073 out of 40,830 beds were occupied.
However, the ICU utilization rate was 70.48 percent or 3,137 out of 4,451 ICU beds.
For the past week, the country has been recording fewer than 11,000 coronavirus cases but the DOH had observed that testing output also fell in many regions.
As of Oct. 7, there were over 22.8 million fully vaccinated individuals in the country, representing 29.65 percent of the government’s target population, which is more than 77 million.
Some 26 million others had received the first dose of the anti-virus jab.
Vergeire noted that Metro Manila’s bed and ICU utilization remained high, and its average daily attack rate was at 19.7 percent.
ADAR is the number of new cases over a two-week period, divided by the population.
The National Capital Region is still under Alert Level 4 until Oct. 15 to curb the spread of COVID-19. Full story on manilastandard.net.
Should COVID-19 cases in the country continue to drop, Vergeire said the government might relax restrictions by Christmas.
The Philippines logged 8,292 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total number of infections to 2,674,814.
According to the DOH tally, the number of new cases is the lowest since Aug. 5, this year which recorded 8,127 new COVID-19 cases.
There were 36 new fatalities Monday, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 39,660.
The DOH also reported 302 new recoveries, bringing the total recoveries to 2,536,260.
There were 98,894 active cases, of which 74.4 percent were mild, 15 percent were asymptomatic, 1.3 percent were critical, 3.2 percent were severe, and 6.14 percent were moderate.
The COVID-19 positivity rate was at 16.5 percent, based on samples of 52,352 individuals on Saturday, Oct. 9.
Nationwide, 69 percent of ICU beds, 53 percent of isolation beds, 54 percent of ward beds, and 50 percent of ventilators, were in use.
In Metro Manila, 67 percent of ICU beds, 43 percent of isolation beds, 49 percent of ward beds, and 50 percent of ventilators, were in use.
“This rate is even going down. Our seven-day average in Metro Manila is less than 2,000 [cases]...around 1,900 plus. The positivity rate in Metro Manila is 12 percent, and we see it going down to less than 10 percent. When that happens, we can say we are testing enough in Metro Manila,” David said.
“We are managing COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila. We see that we are at the tail end of the Delta variant’s transmission in NCR (National Capital Region), as well as in surrounding areas of Calabarzon, Central Luzon. The Delta variant is still there, but it has substantially declined. We are winning against the Delta variant,” David added.
OCTA noted that the Philippines recorded its lowest seven-day average COVID-19 cases since early August at 10,452.
The 29 percent decrease is the lowest since the Aug. 6 to 12 period during the reimposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in many areas, including Metro Manila, David said on Twitter.
David also said the country’s reproduction number was 0.70, down from the 0.96 reported on September 29, while the growth rate was at 29 percent.
The DOH, meanwhile, said it sees an increase in daily cases if the Alert level is reduced to 3.
Vergeire, during a media forum, said the DOH studied scenarios under Alert Levels 4 and 3 where the detection to isolation time was conducted within four days and where the detection to isolation time was prolonged.
As of October 1, NCR recorded 3,897 daily cases.
Under Alert Level 4, Vergeire these daily cases in NCR may decrease to 1,731 with a shorter detection to isolation time while it may decrease to 2,195 with a prolonged detection to isolation time.
Under Alert Level 3, daily cases may increase to 3,311 to 3,605 with a shorter detection to isolation time and increase to 4,061 to 4,557 with a prolonged detection to isolation time.
“This further supports our call to focus on reducing the time between detection and isolation and to not only rely on measures that restrict mobility,” Vergeire said.
Under Alert Level 4, active cases are expected to decrease to 10,100 by Oct. 31 with a four-day detection to isolation time and decrease to 11,779 with a prolonged detection to isolation time.
Meanwhile, Under Alert Level 3, active cases are expected to increase to 13,471 to 14,672 with a shorter detection to isolation time and up to 16,332 to 17,967 active cases with a prolonged detection to isolation time.
The DOH, meanwhile, classified as “high risk” for COVID-19 the Cordilleras, Cagayan Valley and Zamboanga peninsula following a rise in infections.
The three regions’ bed and intensive care unit capacity were considered as “high-risk,” or above 70 percent, Vergeire said.
The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has a bed and ICU utilization rate of 86.85 percent and 85.47 percent, respectively, based on DOH data.
In Cagayan Valley, 79.69 percent of ward beds and 76.88 percent of ICU beds were occupied, while 70.16 percent of ward beds and 88.41 percent of ICU beds in Zamboanga peninsula were utilized.
“We are flagging CAR, Regions 2 and 9 with high-risk case classification based on its positive moderate risk two-week growth rate and a high-risk average daily attack rate,” Vergeire said.