COVID-19 cases in NCR 'dropping'? Mayor says data inconsistent

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2021 09:48 AM | Updated as of Sep 29 2021 10:42 AM

People pray outside the San Felipe Neri Parish Church in Mandaluyong on Sept. 24, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
People pray outside the San Felipe Neri Parish Church in Mandaluyong on Sept. 24, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—Metro Manila is experiencing a downward trend in COVID-19 cases, a group of researchers said Wednesday, as the capital remains under a new quarantine classification to curb the spread of the virus.

However, a city mayor cautioned that the latest data from the Department of Health may be inconsistent, saying that many hospitals in the National Capital Region are running on capacity.

Dr. Guido David of OCTA Research Group said the region's virus reproduction number, or the number infected by a single COVID-19 case, was at 0.94. Its 7-day average of new coronavirus cases is at over 4,000, he added.

"Hindi naman namin sinasabing sudden 'yan pero nakita na namin na pababa 'yung bilang ng kaso," he told Teleradyo. "Actually, nag-peak tayo nung September 11 and simula nun, bumababa na ang bilang ng kaso sa Metro Manila."

(We are not saying this is sudden but we saw that the number of cases was declining. Actually, we peaked last September 11 and after that, the number of cases in Metro Manila was decreasing.)

The sprawling capital region has switched to Alert Level 4, which includes targeted lockdowns in areas with cluster of infections. The 5-tier new virus response strategy is being piloted in Metro Manila until Sept. 30.

David said his group also observed downward trend in COVID-19 cases in Calabarzon and Central Luzon.

He noted though that the occupancy rate of hospitals in Metro Manila remained high.

"Kasi kahit bumababa 'yung bilang ng kaso, hangga't more than 2,000 cases per day sa NCR, hindi pa rin bababa agad-agad 'yung mga bilang ng mga naho-hospitalized. Based 'yan sa surge capacity na na-calculate namin," he said.

(Even if the number of cases is declining, as long as NCR records more than 2,000 cases per day, the number of people getting hospitalized will not go down. That's based on the surge capacity we have calculated.)

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In a separate Teleradyo interview, Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro called on DOH to be consistent on their data regarding the COVID-19 situation in NCR.

"Sinasabi nila na may downward trend na nangyayari pero sinabi rin nila na ang bilang ng mga nate-test, contact tracing ay bumababa rin," he said.

(They're saying there's a downward trend that's happening but they're also saying that those tested and contract traced are decreasing.)

"Pangalawa, ang isang kataka-taka ay bumababa 'yung kaso natin ng COVID sa Metro Manila pero tumataas naman 'yung bed utilization at ICU utilization natin," he added.

(Second, what's surprising is our cases in Metro Manila are falling but our bed utilization and ICU utilization are increasing.)

Data from DOH as of Sept. 26 showed that 6,645 out of 10,706 beds in Metro Manila were occupied.

Of the 159 facilities in the capital, some 79 were considered at safe level (less than 60 percent occupied), 16 at moderate (60 to 70 percent occupied), 25 at high risk (70 to 85 percent occupied) and 36 were tagged as critical (more than 85 percent occupied.)

With the current rate of infection, David said his group was bullish on the COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila in the fourth quarter.

"Tingin natin talaga, maganda 'yung outlook natin for the fourth quarter of 2021. By December, tingin natin mababa na 'yung bilang ng kaso sa NCR," he saidl

(We believed we'll have a positive outlook for the fourth quarter of 2021. By December, we believed the number of cases in NCR will go down.)

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