MANILA (UPDATE) — Metro Manila's weekly COVID-19 positivity rate rose to 19.7 percent as of May 2, according to pandemic monitor OCTA Research.
OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said Wednesday night the latest positivity rate or the percentage of tests turning out positive for the coronavirus increased by 7 points from 12.7 recorded on April 25.
"This could go as high as 25 percent," he warned in a tweet.
The World Health Organization recommends a 5-percent threshold for COVID-19 positivity rate.
The hospital occupancy in the capital region, Guido also said, increased to 24.7 percent on May 2 from 22.5 percent on April 25.
Infections surged in the past weeks due to increased mobility, waning immunity and more contagious COVID-19 variants, he earlier told ABS-CBN News.
The Philippines on Wednesday reported 867 additional coronavirus infections, bringing its tally to 4,096,335. The current nationwide positivity rate stood at 17.1 percent.
The country recorded its first COVID-19 case on Jan. 30, 2020 in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.
Since the pandemic was declared, some 66,444 have died due to COVID-19 in the Philippines.
'NOT SOLE CRITERION'
In response to OCTA's latest monitoring, the Department of Health said the positivity rate was expected to increase following a shift in testing protocols, which focused more on symptomatic individuals.
"The positivity rate is not the sole criterion in monitoring our COVID-19 situation. There are many factors or measures to consider as to an area’s increase in COVID-19 cases," the DOH said in a statement.
"This means metrics such as transmission rate, contact rate, and longer durations of infectiousness are not sole drivers of transmission and increases in cases," the agency added.
For the DOH, the public should focus on the healthcare utilization rates and hospital admissions, which it earlier said remained low risk.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, acting health chief Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country's average daily COVID-19 cases might remain at 600 until June.
"Based on the projections, hanggang sa June, we are seeing na medyo may pagtaas pa hanggang mga 600 na numero ng kaso," she said.
"Eventually, siguro pagkatapos ng Hunyo na 'yan, hopefully pababa na ang mga kaso."
She urged the public to wear masks in high-risk settings, isolate when sick, and get vaccinated and boosted.