MANILA (UPDATE) —The Philippines is still at "moderate" risk for COVID-19 even as a decline in recent cases had been observed, the Department of Health said Monday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country saw a negative 21 percent decline in its 2-week growth rate, with an average daily attack rate of 14.73 cases per 100,000 population.
A negative growth indicates that cases are decreasing while ADAR is defined as the number of infected people per 100,000 population.
The Philippines recorded an average 14,705 cases per day from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, which is 3,060 lower than the previous week's, Vergeire said.
An area's risk level is based on its growth rate of cases in the recent 2 weeks and the ADAR.
Vergeire noted though that the country's health systems capacity remained at high risk, with ICU utilization at 73.20 percent.
With nearly 2.6 million coronavirus infections and more than 38,000 deaths, the Philippines has the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. It currently has 112,008 active cases of COVID-19.
Vergeire said the decline in cases was also due to the decrease in testing output of 14 regions.
"If we see the cases are going down, kailangan makita din natin na nade-decongest ang ating mga (we have to see that our) hospitals (are decongested)," she said.
"We don't like to give false hopes to our public. Kailangang (It has to be) confirmed po at definite with evidence bago po kami magsabi sa inyo na totoo na po na bumababa na (before we says cases are decreasing)," she added.
METRO MANILA ON A DOWNTREND
Vergeire disclosed that Metro Manila was also showing a downward trend in COVID-19 cases, but is still classified under "moderate" risk for the disease.
The capital region's 2-week growth rate decreased to 33 percent, with an average daily attack rate of 26.64 cases per 100,000 population.
But Metro Manila's health systems capacity remained at high risk with ICU utilization at 75 percent, she said.
Vergeire said coronavirus infections in Metro Manlia peaked on Sept. 5-11, which posted a daily average of 5,714 cases.
She said the region then showed a slow downward trend with reported cases decreasing by 28 percent against the previous 7 days.
The NCR had 3,121 average daily cases on Sept. 27-Oct. 3, compared to 4,320 on Sept. 20-26.
6 REGIONS AT HIGH-RISK
According to the DOH, the Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos Region, Mimaropa, Zamboanga Peninsula and Bicol Region were among regions tagged as "high-risk". Their ADAR is more than 7, which means one has a higher chance of getting COVID-19.
Under the "moderate" risk classification are the NCR, Calabarzon, Caraga, Central Luzon, Davao Region, Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen and Central Visayas.
Only the Eastern Visayas and BARMM were considered low risk for COVID-19, the DOH data showed.