MANILA - At least 91 percent of provinces and cities in the the Philippines are still classified as high risk for COVID-19, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
Of these areas, 82 percent have high health care utilization and intensive care utilization rates, Duque said in a taped briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte that aired Thursday.
Under the Department of Health's (DOH) metrics, areas are classified as high risk if more than 70 percent of its COVID-19 hospital beds and ICU beds are occupied.
COVID-19 fatality rate among the elderly also remains high, he said.
"Ang mga may edad na 50-taong gulang hanggang mahigit 80-taong gulang, ang kanilang case fatality rate ay napakataas: 4.9 percent," he said.
The number is high especially when compared to 0.39 COVID-19 case fatality rate among those aged between 1 and 49-years old, the health chief said.
"Kaya idinidiin po natin na sa bakunahan, ang lagi po nating bibigyang prayoridad ay ang mga A2 or the senior citizens."
(That's why we keep on stressing that in our vaccination drive, older adults should always be prioritized.)
As of Sept. 5, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 4 million senior citizens, while 3.42 million others have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.
NCR STILL LOGS MOST OF COUNTRY'S NEW CASES
The National Capital Region - where nearly 60 percent of the population are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 - remains to record most of the country's new coronavirus infections, data from the DOH showed.
On Sept. 15, the capital region logged 4,391 new COVID-19 cases, followed by Calabarzon with 3,681, Central Luzon with 1,681, Cagayan Valley with 988, and Western Visayas with 767.
Among provinces and cities, Cavite recorded the most number of fresh infections with 1,674. Quezon City comes second with 1,261, while Laguna placed third with 658.
Duterte urged the public to continue to wear face masks and face shields to help the government curb the spread of the virus.
"Face shields will provide an added premium of prevention," the President said.
"It might not really be a big of a percentage but even if it is just 5 percent... mas maganda na 'yan (that's better)," he said.
"Ano ba namang inconvenience 'yan instead of getting sick and probably dying?"
(What inconvenience would it be instead of getting sick and probably dying?)
Duterte issued the statement during an indoor meeting in Malacañang, where neither he nor Cabinet members were seen wearing the acetate or acrylic shields.
The Philippines has listed a total of 2.28 million COVID-19 cases, as of Wednesday. Its first confirmed case was logged on Jan. 30 last year in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.
Of the total, 170,446 are active cases.