The number of COVID-19 cases in the country has increased anew after a period of decline, with 17,891 infections recorded from September 19 to 25, 2022 – at least 22 percent higher than the tally logged in the previous week.
According to the Department of Health (DOH) weekly case bulletin, the cases recorded in the past week climbed up from the 14,707 new infections logged the week prior from September 12 to 18.
Last week’s daily case average also increased to 2,556 from the previous week’s 2,101.
DOH data also showed that 790 severe and critical cases were admitted to hospitals as of September 25, accounting for 11 percent of the total COVID-19 admissions.
Of the 2,514 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, 576 or 22.9 percent were occupied. Meanwhile, 5,851 or 27.8 percent of the 21,078 non-ICU COVID-19 beds were in use.
For its part, OCTA Research Group said Monday the new COVID-19 infections in the National Capital Region recorded on Sunday surpassed the peak of new cases in August, as most indicators were seen increasing.
OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said Metro Manila logged 1,600 new COVID-19 cases on September 25, which was higher than last month’s peak of 1,502 new cases reported on August 7.
The one-week growth rate of COVID-19 cases in the region also jumped to 25 percent on Sunday, almost double the 13 percent reported on September 18.
NCR’s seven-day positivity rate, meanwhile, also went up to 18.5 percent on September 24, from 15.7 percent on September 17.
Over 73 million Filipinos or 93.49 percent of the government’s target population are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to DOH.
Of this number, at least 119,850 were fully vaccinated from September 19 to 25.
At least 6.8 million senior citizens or 78.36 percent of the target A2 population have also received their primary vaccine series while 19.2 million individuals have received their booster shots.
Meanwhile, health experts are currently monitoring six additional COVID-19 Omicron subvariants in different countries that could be more transmissible and may evade the current vaccines, an infectious diseases expert said Monday.
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website, the Omicron subvariants under monitoring as of September 22, 2022, are BA.5.1, BA.5.2, BA.2.75, BQ.1, BJ.1, and BA.4.6.
“Although their rates are still low in other countries, these six subvariants are being monitored because they have a characteristic that may cause high mutation, high infection, and evade vaccines or the antibodies obtained from vaccines,” said Dr. Rontgene Solante in a public briefing.
The WHO, citing phylogenetic analysis, said these subvariants show “signals of transmission advantage compared to other circulating VOC [variant of concern: Omicron] lineages and [have] additional amino acid changes that are known or suspected to confer the observed change in epidemiology and fitness advantage as compared to other circulating variants.”
The Philippines has so far detected Omicron subvariants BA.5, BA.4, BA.2.12.1, and BA.2.75.
Solante has pushed for a variant-specific booster to be given to the general population as it may be more effective against the more transmissible Omicron variant.
The DOH earlier said it plans to purchase second-generation COVID-19 vaccines by the first quarter of 2023.