MANILA — The country's daily COVID-19 cases may reach nearly 2,300 by the end of December should there be a decline in minimum public health standards, the Department of Health said Tuesday.
According to Dr. Alethea De Guzman, director of DOH's epidemiology bureau, the figures are based on its latest projection for the upcoming holiday season.
"If our MPH compliance further decreases, our daily cases may probably range from 1,140 to as high as 2,294 by the end of December," she said in a virtual town hall forum.
The country's active COVID-19 cases may also reach 18,000, she added.
In Metro Manila, ICU admission due to COVID-19 may hit up to 800 if an immune-escaping coronavirus variant emerges, De Guzman said.
This is still lower compared to the peak of the Delta variant, which is 1,272.
The presence of a more transmissible COVID-19 variant may also result to as high as 500 hospital admissions, she added.
"With increased mobility, social gatherings and eased restrictions, we expect case spikes to occur but these should not lead to significant increases in hospitalization and death," De Guzman said.
More than 2 years since the pandemic, she said omicron had become the most prevalent strain worldwide.
Health authorities are keeping watch against its 4 subvariants known as BF.7, BA.5.2, BQ.1.1 and BA.2.75, she added.
Omicron also became the dominant strain in the Philippines since December 2021, De Guzman said.
In the recent months, the DOH noticed an increase in XBB and BA.2.3.20 cases in the country.
De Guzman noted that emerging variants did not automatically translate to an increase in case and hospitalization.
Except for Metro Manila, all areas exhibit plateauing of COVID-19 cases. The bed utilization rate of all regions is also considered low risk.
"Even with the detection of these new variants, what we're seeing here is there's no significant increase in our hospitalization," she added.
Courtesy of DOH