Cebu City, other cities in Cebu province remain COVID-19 hotspots, research group says

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 18 2021 02:18 AM

Catholic devotees receive ash as they attend the Ash Wednesday Mass to mark the beginning of Lent at the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, Parañaque on February 17, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The OCTA Research Group on Wednesday said Cebu City, as well as other cities in Cebu province, are still COVID-19 hotspots with increasing new cases.

In its latest report, OCTA Research said Cebu City had the most number of new cases daily at 202, or an increase of 62 percent from the previous week.

Cebu City also had a 2-week daily attack rate of 16.60 per 100,000, which is considered high according to guidelines released by the Department of Health.

“The positivity rate in Cebu City increased to 13%, while hospital bed occupancy was 49%, below the 70% critical level recommended by DOH,” the OCTA Group said in its February 17 report.

Aside from Cebu City, other cities in Cebu province also had increases in their new COVID-19 cases, with Mandaue now at the high-risk classification with a two-week daily attack rate of 7.48 per 100,000, and a positivity rate of 18 percent.

Lapu-Lapu is also moving closer to the high-risk classification with a two-week attack rate of 6.72 per 100,000. Hospital occupancy in the city already exceeded the 70 percent critical level, OCTA Research added.

Talisay, on the other hand, now has a daily attack rate of 6.87 per 100,000, a positivity rate of 13 percent and hospital occupancy of 83 percent, which is above the 70 percent critical threshold.

INCREASE IN NEW CASES IN KALINGA

OCTA Research also said new COVID-19 cases continued a two-week rise in Tabuk, Kalinga, pushing its daily average to 26, with a two-week daily attack rate of 20.88 per 100,000, and a positivity rate of 13 percent.

Baguio City, on the other hand, showed a decrease in new cases. Even with a high positivity rate of 13 percent, the city's two-week daily attack rate decreased below 7 per 100,000.

In Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro City had a two-week rise in new cases, although at a slower trend compared to the cities in Central Visayas.

Even with a positivity rate above 10 percent, the attack rate and hospital occupancy in Cagayan de Oro City remained moderate.

"The pandemic in Cagayan de Oro is not yet of major concern," the group said.

NEW CASES INCREASING IN NAVOTAS

While the situation in the National Capital Region remained flat, OCTA Research noted an increase in new cases in Navotas, which had 20 new COVID-19 cases per day over the current week, up from 3 over the previous week.

Manila and Pasay also had slight increases in new cases, but both cities have low positivity rates and low hospital occupancy.

According to OCTA Research, while the situation in NCR is "manageable", it warned against a possible surge similar to what is happening in Cebu City if the government relaxes quarantine restrictions.

"If restrictions in NCR are relaxed to very loose levels, the region will be under a constant threat of a surge due to the increased mobility of people, reduced social distancing and diminished compliance with health protocols, as was observed at the outset of the December holidays. If restrictions are relaxed today, and if a surge happens, how long will it take before the situation becomes unmanageable?" the group said.

OCTA Research reiterated its call to the national government is urged to fast-track its vaccination drive before easing quarantine restrictions nationwide.

"Given the current state of Covid-19 based on available data aforementioned regarding the National Capital Region (NCR), the projections and forecasts provided and the reality that the more contagious and lethal (based on new studies) UK variant is already present in the NCR and is possibly spreading in its communities, we urge the National Government to defer the consideration of the NEDA proposal to shift the region to a modified general community quarantine by March 1, 2021," the group said.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua earlier said he hopes President Rodrigo Duterte would allow the entire Philippines to be placed under modified general community quarantine beginning March 21.

As of Wednesday, the Philippines has a total of 553,424 COVID-19 cases. Of this number, 11,577 have died, 512,033 have recovered, and 29,814 are active cases.

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