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SPREADING FAST

NCR COVID-19 cases continue to go up, numbers back to July 2020 rate —OCTA Research


The COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region continue to go up at a faster rate, the OCTA Research group said on Sunday.

The NCR's 1,025 new cases per day on the average from Feb. 28 to March 6 represents an increase of 42% from the week before and an increase of 130% compared to two weeks ago.

Metro Manila's reproduction rate for the period went up to 1.66.

"The last time the region had seen this rate of increase was in July 2020," OCTA Research group said.

The researchers noted the surge in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila on March 6 when 1,464 new infections were reported.

The OCTA Research group said the current surge is "spreading more quickly than the July-August surge."

They said this may be due to the coronavirus variants detected in the country.

"The original strain does not spread this quickly considering the health guidelines in place," they added.

Meanwhile, NCR's positivity rate went up to an average of 8% the past seven days.

Hospital bed occupancy was 44% and ICU occupancy rate was 53% overall in NCR, the research group said.

High-risk areas

The OCTA Research group identified four areas in NCR that are at high risk for COVID-19 based on attack rate.

These areas are Pasay City, Makati City, Malabon and Navotas.

The researchers observed a "very high" attack rate in Pasay — 30 per 100,000.

Makati registered more than 80% hospital utilization for beds and ICUs.

Of all the LGUs in NCR, only Valenzuela showed a decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases from Feb. 28 to March 6, compared to the previous week.

Barangay 76 in Pasay City had the most number of new cases of COVID-19 for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6 with 126 cases, representing an increase of 70% from the week before.

However, OCTA Research flagged the barangays which showed more than 100% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6 over the previous week.

These are:

  • Barangay Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City (102 cases, up by 149%)
  • Barangay Tambo in Parañaque City (74 cases, up by 208%)
  • Barangay Baclaran in Parañaque City (63 cases, up by 232%)
  • Barangay Longos in Malabon (52 cases, up by 126%)
  • Barangay Commonwealth in Quezon City (52 cases, up by 126%)
  • Barangay Ugong in Pasig City (49 cases, up by 227%)
  • Barangay San Lorenzo in Makati City (48 cases, up by 200%)
  • Barangay Tonsuya in Malabon (46 cases, up by 188%)
  • Barangay 704 in Manila (45 cases, up by 1400%)
  • Barangay Rosario in Pasig City (39 cases, up by 129%)

 

As for LGUs outside NCR, OCTA Research reported good news for Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue which "are now on a downward trend."

"New cases in Davao City decreased, while Baguio City is now on an upward trend in new cases," the group said.

Projections

OCTA Research believes the numbers will still go up throughout March.

"Based on the current reproduction number, NCR is projected to have 2,000 new Covid-19 cases per day by March 21 and 3,000 new cases per day by March 31, while the country is projected to have 5,000 to 6,000 new cases per day by the end of March," it said.

The group said the surge "may be driven by new and more contagious and lethal variants".

"The priority now is to contain or mitigate the spread of these more contagious and lethal variants apart from preventing the surge in the region from becoming full-blown," it said.

The researchers also pushed for more contact tracing, testing and isolation especially in high-risk areas.

"We urge high-risk local government units (LGUs) in the NCR, Baguio City and other LGUs identified in this report to further intensify their efforts and expand testing, tracing, and isolation as well as to implement small, targeted lockdowns to contain super spreader events and reverse the increase in transmissions in their communities," they said.

They also encouraged "more effective localized lockdowns with stricter border controls."

The researchers also urged the public to do their share by being vigilant and following health protocols, and the government to strictly monitor and enforce compliance.

OCTA Research also appealed to the government to ensure that vaccines against COVID-19 be made available as soon as possible.

"Given that a surge in the NCR is now not a question of if but of how much, we exhort the government to ensure the urgent but efficient deployment of vaccines during the month of March," it said.

The group also suggested having stricter travel guidelines to eliminate the risk of coronavirus variants entering the country.

They also urged health workers in NCR and adjacent provinces to have themselves vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. —KG, GMA News