DOH: Daily COVID cases in NCR could go up as high as 1,200 by June’s end

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 18 2022 03:04 PM | Updated as of Jun 18 2022 10:22 PM

More people spend time outdoors in Makati City on February 24, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
More people spend time outdoors in Makati City on February 24, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

NCR, Caraga, Calabarzon post higher hospitalization rates

MANILA – Metro Manila could record between 800 to 1,200 fresh COVID-19 infections daily by the end of the month if cases continue to grow, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Saturday, just as it warned about the rising hospitalization rate in some regions. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Philippines is averaging about 350 cases daily this week, higher by "about 50 percent to 60 percent" from the previous week. 

The capital region, however, posted an average of 170 cases daily from just 102 infections the week before. 

"Tuloy-tuloy ang pagtaas ng kaso albeit medyo mabagal po ang pagtaas pero kailangan lahat tayo cautious," Vergeire said in a public briefing. 

"Ang mayroon tayo, projections that by the end of June maaaring umabot tayo sa 800 to 1,200 cases per day kung magtuloy-tuloy po ang mga kaso natin sa ngayon."
 
Several areas in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Caraga regions were also being monitored for reporting a slight increase in hospital admissions due to the virus. Vergeire declined to disclose the specifics. 

She clarified that the national hospitalization rate remains below 20 percent. 

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As of June 13, 16.6 percent of intensive care units (ICU) for COVID-19 patients are currently occupied. Severe and critical admissions was also at 11.3 percent nationwide, data from the DOH showed.

These can be considered alarming if it reaches 50 percent, considered at the "moderate risk" level.

"Mino-monitor natin closely ang severe and critical cases, hindi natin nakikita na may significant increase although there are severe and critical cases being reported pero hindi pa sila ganoon ka-significant ngayon," she explained. 

ALERT LEVEL 2?

Metro Manila can be elevated to Alert Level 2 if its average daily attack rate (ADAR) or the number of fresh infections in an area, "would be more than 6 per 100,000 of the population," said Vergeire. 

"Kailangan nagkakaroon tayo ng kaso sa NCR around 800 cases per day," she added.

Hospitalizations, she said, must also reach the moderate risk level to be placed in a stricter quarantine level.

Despite these projections, Vergeire cautioned the public and analysts on calling it a "surge." 

"Let us not call it a surge. Unang-una when you talk about the surge, it is a sudden increase in the number of cases. Kapag tiningnan nga natin, oo tumataas pero it is not, hindi ganoon kabilis ang pagtaas, hindi ganoon karami ang mga kasong dinadagdag," she explained.

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases may be attributed to the population's waning immunity due to the "slow uptake" of COVID-19 boosters as well as the presence of more transmissible omicron variants. 

The Philippines has already detected the local presence of BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5. 

The country on Friday logged 539 new COVID-19 cases, the highest in more than 2 months or since April 3, ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido said.

The total active cases as of Friday reached 3,829, considered also the highest since the May 9 elections. 

Metro Manila alone had 282 new COVID-19 infections.