Are more COVID-19 cases now coming from outside NCR?

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2020 07:50 PM

MANILA — There are now more COVID-19 cases coming from outside the National Capital Region, according to the Department of Health.

DOH data analyzed by the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team showed that while the NCR accounted for 57% of cases announced from August 1 to 31, the region’s share went down to 41% this week.

From logging an average 2,357 cases daily in August, NCR logged only an average of 1,821 daily in the week of Sept. 11 to 17 and an average of 1,209 daily in the week of Sept. 18 to 24. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire gave a similar observation earlier this week.

“Maaaring malaking porsyenteo galing din po sa labas ng National Capital Region,” Vergeire said on Monday when asked about the large number of cases. “Pero syempre tinitingnan pa rin natin. We are trying to analyze the numbers right now.”

(Perhaps a large percentage of these are from outside the National Capital Region. But of course we need to check. We are trying to analyze the numbers right now.)

Vergeire said that from September 7 to 20, 2020, 43% of the newly announced COVID-19 cases in the Philippines were from the National Capital Region.

ABS-CBN Data Analytics Head Edson Guido said that the NCR seems to be following the trend of the Philippines, which “goes to show how significant its share is relative to the total.”

Graph by ABS-CBN Data Analytics

Guido said that some of the cases reported last week came from Region 3, Region 4A and Region 6. 

He said Region 7, which includes Cebu, has shown improvement with cases “now definitely lower.”

The DOH earlier showed that critical care utilization for Cebu improved and went down to 35% by September 20. This meant that the province’s hospitals were no longer overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. 

DOH data also showed an improvement in the NCR’s hospital occupancy, with its critical care utilization rate being downgraded from a high risk level of 67% on September 2 to just medium risk at 58% on September 20.

Graph by ABS-CBN Data Analytics

Meanwhile, Guido said Region 3 saw a peak in cases in mid-September, mostly due to Bulacan.

Region 4A also saw an increase in mid-September, driven by cases from Batangas, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal. The four provinces are usually included in the DOH’s daily list of provinces with the most number of newly-announced cases.

Graph by ABS-CBN Data Analytics
Graph by ABS-CBN Data Analytics

Despite the improvement in the trend for NCR, Guido cautioned that the region is still logging more than 1,000 cases daily.

The DOH has yet to release its own analysis on whether the Philippines is really seeing a decline in cases.