MANILA (UPDATED) - Active COVID-19 cases in the Philippines could reach 7,500 around the second half of next month from the current over 5,000 cases, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
That’s based on the projection of the DOH, if compliance to minimum health protocols declines and booster uptake remains low.
Of the more than 57 million fully vaccinated adults in the country, only 14.7 million have gotten booster shots.
"What’s troubling here would be, doon sa projections po natin nakikita natin na around the same time, itong second to third week of July, makikita natin tataas ang mga ma-o-ospital because of the waning immunity," DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told Teleradyo.
In Quezon City, the local government said average daily COVID cases rose to 50 from 32 last week, citing data from OCTA Research. It added that the city’s positivity rate also increased to 4% from 3%. But the QC Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit said hospital utilization rate in the LGU is only at a little over 30 percent.
"Doon sa nirelease ng OCTA, nasa moderate risk na tayo based sa kanilang thresholds," QC-ESU Head Dr. Rolly Cruz said.
"We still follow the alert level 1 restrictions," he noted.
Under the DOH’s metrics, among the criteria for an area to be considered moderate risk are positive two-week growth rate, an average daily attack rate of 6 per 100,000 population per day, and health care utilization rate (HCUR) of 50 to 70 percent.
The DOH said Quezon City has yet to satisfy these criteria to be considered moderate risk.
"To make the HCUR moderate, kailangan 50-70 percent ang iyong utilization rate, so it’s still below," Health Sec. Francisco Duque III said.
The national COVID positivity rate is at 3.7 percent, still below the World Health Organization’s 5 percent threshold for at least 14 days.
But COVID positivity rate in Metro Manila rose to 5.2% this week, compared to 3.2 percent the week prior. The DOH said this should not be the sole basis for assessing the COVID situation.
"You cannot be governed just by the positivity rate. You have to look at the entirety of the metrics. So ang importante ‘yung HCUR is not overwhelmed or overstretched or nabibilaukan yung ating facilities. Walang ganon. So we’re okay," Duque said.
"Yung bed capacity, ‘yung healthcare utilization rate, mababa pa rin eh. So there is no point to touch the current alert level," he added.
“Ang malaking gamechanger ngayon ay talagang yung vaccination, kasi nagkakaroon ng decoupling sa cases at sa deaths. Posibleng tumataas nga yung cases mo, pero it’s not really translating to deaths,” ABS-CBN News Data Analytics Head Edson Guido noted.
More hospitals in Metro Manila started rolling out third COVID jabs to immunocompromised minors 12-17 years old on Thursday. These include Ospital ng Maynila, and Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City.
“Konti lang eh. Priority po natin muna ‘yung pedia na immunocompromised. Kaso dumarating general pedia eh. Wala namang problema, the parents just would like them to get vaccinated, yun nga lang luhaan silang umuwi,” Ospital ng Maynila’s Infection Control Unit Chairman Dr. Rey Salinel Jr. said.
“Sana sabihin na nga ng DOH na pwede na ‘yung general population ng 12-17 lalo na’t nababalitaan ko po pagdating ng buwan ng Agosto, babalik na ang face-to-face classes,” San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora also said.
National Vaccination Operations Center Chairperson Usec. Myrna Cabotaje said hospitals outside Metro Manila may begin administering additional dose to eligible immunocompromised minors as soon as they’re ready.