Number of COVID-19 ‘clusters’ down, says DOH

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2020 12:23 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2020 08:01 PM

Passersby traverse the Antonio Rivera street adorned with parols, in Manila on November 9, 2020. Christmas celebrations in the country are expected to be toned-down this year, with social gatherings virtually prohibited and millions financially impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it hopes the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines will continue to decrease as it no longer sees a large cluster of cases in certain parts of the country.

“Makikita natin there is that decreasing trend in the number of cases and there is increasing availability of resources,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing. “Yung clustering of cases, nawala na po dito sa areas that were previously identified as hotspots.”

(We can see a decreasing trend in the number of cases and there is increasing availability of resources. The clustering of cases in areas previously identified as hotspots are also gone.)

As of November 15, there are 2,838 cumulative COVID-19 clusters in the Philippines, 84.7% of which are in communities. The rest were detected in health facilities (130 clusters or 4.6%) and other closed settings.

“There were 200 areas of clustering detected from November 1 to 14, 2020. This is 7% lower (16 areas less) compared to areas of clustering detected from October 1 to 14, 2020,” the DOH said in a note.

It added that the decrease in clusters were from jails and other settings.

Vergeire pointed out that the country’s transmission rate has been less than 1 “in the past weeks and months," which means transmission rate has slowed down.

“Ang average number of cases is in a stable condition. Less than 2,000 for the past week already,” she pointed out.

The health official also said most regions have a critical care utilization rate that is within the “safe zone." None are in critical level or have an occupancy of 85% or more.

“Maganda ang indikasyon na ito when it comes to the situation of COVID-19 here in the Philippines. But ang lagi nating sinasabi, this is not the time to be complacent,” Vergeire said.

(This is a good indication when it comes to the situation of COVID-19 here in the Philippines. But as we always say, this is not the time to be complacent.)

Vergeire reminded the public to stay vigilant and to continue complying with health standards such as wearing of masks, physical distancing, and frequent handwashing.

“Hopefully, in the coming months, mas bumaba pa ang mga kaso,” she said.

(Hopefully, in the coming months, the number of cases will continue to go down.)

The DOH, however, acknowledged that a surge in cases was likely after many Filipinos were forced to stay in evacuation centers due to recent typhoons.

The agency has since deployed safety officers in evacuation areas to enforce health standards, Vergeire said.

She added the DOH also distributed face masks and alcohol to evacuees.