MANILA — The positivity rate for COVID-19 tests in Region 7 (Central Visayas) almost doubled in the last week, from 18.2 percent on June 18, to 33 percent on June 27, data from the Department of Health showed.
Positivity rate refers to the percentage of individuals testing positive for COVID-19.
The latest rate means that for every 100 individuals being tested in the region, 33 were positive for the virus.
It is much higher than the national positivity rate of just 7.05%, and that of the National Capital Region's 9%, both as of June 27.
Region 7’s Cebu City and Cebu Province were identified among emerging COVID-19 hotspots last week as cases continue to rise.
Cebu City has since been placed under the stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
ABS-CBN News earlier reported that a third of the cases in Cebu City were concentrated in only 10 out of the 80 barangays there.
The last time Region 7’s positivity rate went up was in May when it first had a spike in cases because of the infection clusters in jails and some villages.
The positivity rate of Cebu at that time was at 15 to 16 percent, according to the DOH.
The DOH has said that the country’s 6-7% positivity rate was proof that the Philippines’ COVID response is working, noting it is below the World Health Organization benchmark of 10%.
University of the Philippines College of Science Dean Giovanni Tapang pointed out though that the threshold is actually 5%, which means that the country is above the WHO recommended criteria.
Tapang said this during a June 25 virtual forum organized by the Citizens’ Urgent Response to End COVID-19 (CURE COVID).
The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) coronavirus resource center also states that the WHO recommended positivity rate is at 5% or lower for at least 14 days.
“If a positivity rate is too high, that may indicate that the state is only testing the sickest patients who seek medical attention, and is not casting a wide enough net to know how much of the virus is spreading within its communities,” a JHU resource page reads.
As of 5 p.m. of June 28, Region 7 has recorded 8,230 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which, 5,794 are in Cebu City, 748 are in Mandaue City, 567 are in Lapu-lapu City, and 1,054 are from other parts of Cebu province.