MANILA (UPDATE)— Some parts of the Philippines, especially in Luzon, have recorded an increase in new COVID-19 cases, although not at an alarming level, the OCTA Research group said Tuesday.
OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David said that based on their monitoring, a rise in positivity rate as well as new infections in Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Western Visayas, Pangasinan, and La Union have been observed.
Other areas that posted a spike in new cases included Cagayan, Isabela, Iloilo, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac.
"Most of Calabarzon, except siguro Quezon, medyo nakitaan natin ng pagtaas ng kaso. Pero hindi naman ito alarming. We just want the public to be aware na mayroong konting pagtaas sa mga area na ito kaya kailangan ng pag-iingat natin," David said in a public briefing.
(We monitored a rise in new cases in most of Calabarzon except Quezon but this is not alarming. We just want the public to be aware that there is a rise in new COVID-19 cases in these areas that's why we need to be careful.)
"Kaugnay sa nabanggit ng Pangulo, may decoupling - ibig sabihin, kahit na medyo mataas yung cases, o mataas yung risk, ang binabantayan natin, ang health care utilization," he added.
(In relation to what the President mentioned on decoupling, it means that despite the rise in cases, or the risk, what we are monitoring is the health care utilization.)
The Philippines recorded 14,640 new COVID-19 cases in the previous week, reflecting about a 40-percent increase from a week before, data from the health department showed Monday.
This means that the country country posted an average of 2,091 per day from July 11 to 17, according to the Department of Health's latest bulletin.
According to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group, this is the first time in 21 weeks that the daily average cases reached the 2,000 level.
Overall, the country has logged a total of 3,735,383 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 20,524 were active as of Monday.
HOW ARE OUR HOSPITALS?
David attributed the uptick fresh infections to the presence of omicron subvariants and the public's complacency in following minimum health standards.
Dr. Jose de Grano, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI), said the health care capacity of hospitals remained "manageable" despite the spike in new cases.
Some patients admitted to hospitals were not fully vaccinated or were members of the vulnerable sectors, he said.
"Iyon pa rin po ang aming nakikita. Usually, itong mga naa-admit namin na mga severe and critical although kaunti lang naman po iyan ay mga pasyente po na nandoon sa elderly and immunocompromised," De Grano said during the same briefing.
(That's what we are seeing. Usually, these patients we admitted were severe and critical, although only some of them were members of the elderly and the immunocompromised sector.)
"'Yong iba po karamihan din ay nakita namin na incomplete po iyong vaccination at iyong iba ay talagang hindi vaccinated."
(We also noticed that some of those admitted were not vaccinated or had incomplete vaccination.)
Meanwhile, the number of non-COVID and dengue patients in hospital have also increased, said De Grano.
"So far siguro kung nagkakaroon man ng kaunting pagka-ano sa
admission po sa emergency room ay dahil dumadami naman po itong non-COVID cases at iyon pong ibang hospitals nga ang nagiging problem nila ay kapag nagkukulang iyong ating mga nurses at healthcare workers," he said.
(If there are some filled up emergency rooms, it is because of the rising non-COVID cases and the lack of manpower in hospitals. Some hospitals are also short on nurses and healthcare workers.)
Guido said the country is expected to see around 2,000 new cases daily "over the next few days" but did not elaborate. New COVID-19 infections in Metro Manila though may have already "peaked," he said.
The daily positivity rate in Metro Manila reached 14 percent on July 15 and went down to 12 percent on July 17, he added.
"Ang nakikita natin sa Metro Manila, baka may possibility na nag-peak na... Ang ibig sabihin nito, kung magtuloy-tuloy ito, baka bumaba na yung trend natin sa Metro Manila, (pero) hindi pa sa buong bansa necessarily kasi may ibang regions pa na nagsisimula pa lang tumaas ang bilang ng kaso," David said.
(The cases in Metro Manila may have already peaked. This means that the cases could already decrease in Metro Manila, but not necessarily nationwide because some regions have just started recording a rise in new cases.)
According to the DOH website, nearly 70.7 million people in the country have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while some 15.1 million have received their booster shot.