DOH: Growth of new COVID cases in NCR has slowed, but infections still rising

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 15 2022 03:31 PM | Updated as of Jan 15 2022 07:13 PM

Filipino Catholics hear Friday mass outside the Quiapo Church in Manila on January 14, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Filipino Catholics hear Friday mass outside the Quiapo Church in Manila on January 14, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—The growth of new COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila has slowed in Metro Manila, even if the region is experiencing a surge of infections due to the community transmission of the omicron variant, the Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the case doubling time in Metro Manila went from 2.2 to 4 days. 

"Humaba na ito, ngayon nasa 4 days. Ibig sabihin nagdodoble ’yung numero every 4 days. Nakikita ho natin ang pagbagal, pero kailangan natin maintindihan din na sa pagbagal na ito, patuloy na tumataas ang numero ng kaso," Vergeire said. 

(It was stretched to 4 days. This means that the numbers double every 4 days. We see the cases slowing, but we must understand that cases are still going up.)

"Hindi lang po ang pagbagal ang tinitingnan natin ngunit kung gaano karami ang naidadagdag ng number ng mga kaso na ito so kailangan bantayan natin maigi," she added. 

(The slow growth isn't the only metric we're looking at, but how many more cases we're adding.)

Independent research group OCTA on Saturday said based on the 7-day moving average the growth rate in the NCR dipped to 3 percent on Friday from 5 percent on Thursday. 

OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David said the reproduction number — or R value — in Metro Manila also fell to 3.22 as of Tuesday. 

The R value measures the average number of people that one infected person passes the disease to. An R value higher than 1 can lead to exponential growth.

"While the decrease in growth rate is strong evidence that that the trend in NCR appears to be peaking, it is still subject to data backlog and late reports," David said.

"Once the growth rate in NCR becomes negative, new cases in the NCR are decreasing."

Meanwhile, Vergeire said that COVID-19 cases were expected to rise nationwide until the end of the month. Based on their team's projections, the peak of infections might be reached by the end of January or mid-February. 

The capital region currently has 149,000 active COVID-19 cases, nearly twice the number of total active infections in the country (265,509). 

OTHER REGIONS

The DOH also observed a spike in new cases in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol Region, and Western and Eastern Visayas.

Five regions in the country are also in the critical case risk classification: NCR, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Cagayan Valley, amd CAR.

"Nakikita na ho natin paunti-unti, tumataas na rin ang kaso sa ibang rehiyon. And iyon pong mga regions na ito, nakikita na rin natin ang parehong characteristic na nangyayari sa NCR noong nag-umpisa po tayo," she said. 

(We can see that cases are going up in other regions. We could see the same characteristics in the NCR when the surge started.)

The Philippines is battling a fresh wave of new infections most likely driven by the omicron variant. 

On Friday, the DOH posted more than 37,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day, the highest ever. 

Video from PTV