PH COVID-19 positivity rate breaches 7%, highest in over 4 months

Edson Guido, Head, ABS-CBN News Analytics

Posted at Feb 28 2021 10:40 PM

Residents observe quarantine rules as Barangay178, Zone 19, Pasay City is placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on February 23, 2021. The city government imposed extended localized community quarantine, 14 days from February 22, in more than 30 barangays after the city recorded a 200 percent spike in new coronavirus infections. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- The COVID-19 positivity rate in the Philippines has risen to its highest level in more than four months as Central Visayas and Metro Manila saw an uptick in positive cases.

The positivity rate measures the number of positive individuals against the number of individuals tested.

Based on latest data from the Department of Health processed by the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team, the 7.8 percent daily positivity rate recorded on February 26 was the highest since October 25 last year. The daily rate also exceeded 7.0 percent for the third time in the last four days.

The positivity rate has been steadily increasing from 5.0 percent in December 2020 to 5.5 percent in January and 6.0 percent in the first 26 days of February.

A regional breakdown shows that the positivity rates in three regions have surpassed 10 percent in the last two weeks. It is important to note that the geographic tagging of COVID-19 tests is based on the location of laboratories, not the residence of the patients. Nevertheless, these numbers give us a better idea of what’s happening on the ground.

Region 7 or Central Visayas, where Cebu City is located, registered the highest positivity rate at 14.7 percent in the last two weeks. This is more than double the 7.0 percent it recorded in the last 14 days of January. 

The positivity rate in the National Capital Region, which remained below 5.0 percent daily from January 1 to February 18, has now gone beyond that benchmark.

On the other hand, most regions reported declining positivity rates relative to the last two weeks of January, with six regions now registering a rate below 5.0 percent. Despite this, the national positivity rate is now on an upward trend.

This underscores the importance of containing the spread of the virus in key urban areas. Both Metro Manila and Region 7 had some of the lowest positivity rates in the Philippines in previous months, which coincided with the decline in cases observed at the national level.

The positivity rate is a reliable indicator to gauge a country’s progress against the pandemic. A higher rate implies that there is still local transmission happening on the ground. This is why the World Health Organization recommends a positivity rate of 5.0 percent or lower for at least 14 days before governments consider reopening.

The Philippines has yet to clear this benchmark in recent months.

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