MANILA — The OCTA Research Group on Tuesday said it has observed an increase in COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region in the wake of the burst in public activity over the holidays.
“There is a clear upward trend now, shown as a yellow line, and if this upward trend continues, the local governments will need to implement measures to reverse this direction before the pandemic gets out of hand,” the OCTA Group said in its report.
The report was released just after the Philippines on Monday logged its highest daily count of new COVID-19 cases since Christmas at 2,052.
The group noted that the last time the R naught or reproduction of COVID-19 in the Philippines was above 1 was on December 21. The OCTA Group uses the R naught as the basis of their projections.
A reproduction number of more than 1 means that the infection is spreading to more people since one infected person could infect one or more people.
“It [reproduction number] has remained below 1 throughout the holiday season as testing was reduced by more than 40%,” the group added.
The group said that as testing centers were becoming fully operational again, “the number of new cases (in Metro Manila) has now increased to more than 400.”
On the other hand, the percentage of people testing positive remained at 4% or below the 5% benchmark of the World Health Organization.
The Department of Health had repeatedly said it expected an increase in COVID-19 cases after the holidays due to high activity among people.
The DOH said it might take some time for the cases to be detected because of the incubation period of the virus, which can be up to 14 days.
Among Metro Manila cities, the OCTA Group highlighted the number of new cases in Marikina.
“An LGU of concern is Marikina, which not only increased by 127% compared to the previous week, the case reports also increased compared to two weeks ago. Marikina also had the highest positivity rate among NCR LGUs at 11%,” it said.
Outside Metro Manila, the OCTA Group highlighted Davao Del Sur (including Davao City), Isabela, Quezon, Misamis Oriental, Pangasinan, Agusan Del Sur and Negros Oriental for an increase in new cases by at least 10% from January 4 to 10. They also have a positivity rate of more than 10%.
The OCTA report listed recommendations for the government such as intensified testing, tracing, and isolation. It also suggested stricter border controls and enforcement of minimum health standards.