MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday acknowledged it has been seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases in some areas of the Philippines but that there are also bright spots in the government response.
“We are trying to analyze now the recent cases and the growth yung sinasabi natin na (what they call a) growth curve,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing when asked if the DOH still thinks that there is a declining trend in COVID-19 cases.
Last week, the daily tally of cases went down to just 1,000 to around 2,000 cases but it went up again and is now on its 9th straight day of having at least 3,000 cases reported.
“Sa pagkaka-analyze namin, nakita natin na meron pa rin talagang selected areas in the country na nagkakaroon ng increase in the number of cases or may growth pag tinignan mo yung trend for the past 2 weeks,” Vergeire said.
(In our analysis, there are really selected areas in the country that are seeing an increase in the number of cases or there is growth when you look at the trend for the last 2 weeks. )
She said there is a need to interpret the data cautiously, especially since they are “highly reliant on the submissions of our disease reporting units,” which often result in late reporting.
Vergeire pointed out that the DOH still receives reports of cases from previous months because of this.
“Aside from that pag tiningnan natin ang kaso natin hindi pa natin masabi if this trend is really going down. Because nakikita natin yung variability across different reported numbers per day,” she said.
(Aside from that when you look at the cases, you can’t say if the trend is really going down. Because you can see the variability across different reported numbers per day.)
She said there are also other factors to consider, such as expanded testing and the improved contact tracing of the local government units.
“Dati 45% lang of the contacts nate-trace LGU. Ngayon it has been traced to 70%. Contact tracing has increased as well,” the health official said.
(Previously, the LGUs were only able to trace 45% of the contracts. Now, they are able to trace 70%. Contact tracing has increased as well.)
However, she acknowledged that for some areas the community transmission is really a factor.
“Pero pag tiningnan naman natin ang health systems makikita natin kung gaano natin napahinga ang ating health systems comparing to before we had the MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) in August,” she said, pointing out how hospital bed occupancy has gone down compared to previous weeks.
(But if you look at the health systems, you can see that we were able to give our health systems a rest compared to before we had the MECQ in August.)
She said one of the objectives was to prevent overwhelming the system or the hospitals.
“Pag yan ang ginawa nating batayan (If that is our basis) that is a good indication that we are faring better than before,” she said.
However, Vergeire they have observed addition clusters in Region4A or Calabarzon and Bulacan, the areas that are usually listed under top provinces with new cases.
She said 5 new clusters were identified in Region 4A and 4 in Bulacan.
According to the DOH, there are also 51 provinces that had an “observed % increase in cases between August 17-30 and August 31-September 13. These are from:
- Region 1 - 3 provinces
- Region 2 - 4 provinces
- Region 3 - 3 provinces
- Region 4A - 2 provinces
- Region 4B - 5 provinces
- Region 5 - 2 provinces
- Region 6 - 5 provinces
- Region 7 - 1 provinces
- Region 8 - 4 provinces
- Region 9 - 2 provinces
- Region 10 - 5 provinces
- Region 11 - 4 provinces
- Region 12 - 5 provinces
- BARMM - 2 provinces
- CAR - 2 provinces
- CARAGA - 2 provinces