MANILA (UPDATE)— The nearly 9,000 new COVID-19 cases the Philippines reported Friday may be attributed to the higher number of infections logged outside the NCR Plus bubble, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Saturday.
In a public briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained that some areas outside Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna have reported a "spike" in cases recently, which might have contributed to the 8,748 fresh infections on Friday.
The Luzon bubble had been the hotbed of infections, posting a surge in March and April.
The country logged between 3,971 to 6,459 cases from Monday to Thursday, based on data collated by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
"Ito po siguro ay bunsod ng mga pagtaas ng mga kaso sa iba't ibang lugar aside from the NCR Plus, pero mino-monitor po natin maigi at inoobserbahan po natin yan para makapagbigay po tayo ng accurate information sa ating mga kababayan," Vergeire said.
(This can be due to the spike of COVID-19 cases in different parts outside the NCR Plus, but we are monitoring and observing it so we could give accurate information to our fellow Filipinos)
"Nakikita po natin kasi na aside from NCR, 4A and Region 3, dumadagdag na po 'yung pagdagdag ng kaso sa ibang lugar," she added without elaborating.
(We could see that aside from the NCR, Region 4A and Region 3, some areas have contributed cases)
The official also pointed out that cases could be relatively higher on Wednesdays to Fridays due to more laboratories "submitting completely and being operational in these specific days."
Data from the latest bulletin also showed that out of 49,162 individuals who underwent testing on Wednesday, 12.8 percent or around 6,200 people were found positive for the virus.
The agency clarified in late January that the number of cases in the bulletin are "numbers submitted to the DOH Epidemiology Bureau (EB) two days prior."
Video courtesy of PTV
In a separate statement shortly after Saturday's COVID-19 bulletin was posted, Vergeire said the relatively higher new cases in the past 2 days was due to the higher number of infections reported outside the NCR Plus bubble.
She added that new infections plateaued based on the agency's "average daily cases reported in the previous weeks."
"For NCR and Plus Areas, the numbers continue to go down but the rate of decline is slower in recent weeks. From negative two-week growth rates (TWGR), certain regions in Luzon exhibited trend reversal to positive TWGR," Vergeire said.
A rise in cases, however, has been observed in Visayas and Mindanao.
"In Visayas, all regions showed gradual increase in cases... In Mindanao, all regions showed sustained growth in cases with Regions 10 (Northern Mindanao), 11 (Davao Region), and Caraga showing faster increase this week compared to the previous week," the statement read.
The ABS-CBN Data Analytics team, on the other hand, said that based on DOH's data, the capital region led the country's regions with the most number of COVID-19 cases reported on Friday with 1,630.
It is followed by Central Luzon (1,415), Calabarzon (1,322), and Cagayan Valley (886).
Here are the top areas that posted the most number of fresh COVID-19 infections on the said date, according to the data analytics team:
- Cavite - 474
- Quezon City - 424
- Cagayan - 398
- Isabela - 337
- Bulacan - 316
- Pampanga - 309
- Laguna - 308
The Philippines has so far tallied over 1.2 million COVID-19 cases since the virus reached the country over a year ago.
The virus has claimed 20,566 lives in the country.