Metro Manila may see higher hospital, ICU admissions if new variants enter: DOH

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 13 2022 04:28 PM

Voters line up outside Herminigildo Atienza Elementary School in Baseco, Tondo, Manila to participate in the national elections on May 9, 2022. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News
Voters line up outside Herminigildo Atienza Elementary School in Baseco, Tondo, Manila to participate in the national elections on May 9, 2022. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News


MANILA - Metro Manila might tally a higher number of COVID-19 hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions if an immune-escaping and highly transmissible variant emerges, the Department of Health said Friday.

The capital region could record 1,124 to 1,954 coronavirus ICU patients by July 31 if such a variant causes widespread infection and booster shot rate is at 500,000 doses per month, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, citing projections by the Australian Tuberculosis Modelling Network (AuTuMN) Team.

ICU admissions during the delta variant-driven surge last year peaked at 1,272, Vergeire noted. 

"Pinupunto lang po ng ating latest projections ang kahalagahan ng minimum public health standards at ang pagpapabilis ng pagpapabakuna, hindi lamang ng booster doses kundi pati na rin po ang primary series," she told reporters.

(Our latest projections show the importance of minimum public health standards and the fast-tracking of vaccination, not just of booster doses but also of primary series.)

"Kailangan natin ito upang mapigilan ang further transmission at ma-mitigate natin ang potential risk kung magkakaroon ng bagong variants of concern."

(We need these to prevent further transmission and to mitigate the potential risk if there will be new variants of concern.)

Meanwhile, hospital admissions can reach between 5,512 and 9,871 by July 27 if a new variant emerges and the monthly booster rate hovers at half a million jabs, Vergeire said.

The figures are 2 to 3 times higher than bed occupancies recorded during the delta and omicron peaks at 4,413 and 3,556, respectively, she added.

Metro Manila can also record up to 14,606 weekly COVID-19 cases by June 23 with the emergence of an immune-escaping and highly transmissible variant with the same booster shot rate, according to Vergeire. 

Photo courtesy of the Department of Health
Photo courtesy of the Department of Health

Two local cases of the omicron BA.2.12.1, a sublineage of highly transmissible BA.2, have been detected in Metro Manila, Vergeire said.

 

The Philippines earlier detected BA.2.12 in a Finnish woman who visited Baguio City and Quezon City and has since recovered and returned to her home country.

"Itong dalawang 'to pareho silang more transmissible than the original omicron variant tsaka pareho silang may possibility ng immune escape," Vergeire said.

(These 2 are more transmissible than the original omicron variant and they both have the possibility of immune escape.)

The Philippines has tallied 971 new cases or an average of 146 per day from May 6 to 12, according to Vergeire. It has a 1.1-percent positivity rate, or the number of persons who test positive for COVID-19, she said.

As of Thursday, some 68.6 million individuals have been fully vaccinated, of which 13.6 million have received an additional dose, according to the DOH. 

Some 38.7 million more are eligible for a booster shot, Vergeire said.

Of the total figure, 2.3 million were children ages 5 to 11, 9.3 million were teens, 50.2 million were adults, and 6.7 million were senior citizens, Vergeire added.

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