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NCR new COVID-19 cases reach more than 2,800 in one day, highest since May —OCTA

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) breached 2,800 on Saturday while the region is under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), data shared by the OCTA Research group showed.

A total of 2,823 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Saturday. This is “the highest number since May 2, when the NCR was under MECQ [modified enhanced community quarantine],” the group said.

It added that the reproduction rate in Metro Manila went up to 1.80 from 1.56 a week ago.

OCTA Research added that the strong upward trend and level of new COVID-19 cases in NCR is similar to that seen from March 9 to 15 this year before ECQ was reimposed on Metro Manila.

“The rapid growth rate of cases in the NCR strongly suggests the possibility that the surge is driven by the Delta variant, and the steady increase in the reproduction number may be due to the replacement of the Delta variant over the previous dominant variants (i.e. Alpha and Beta),” the OCTA Resarch group said.

The group said 31% of sampled cases had the Delta variant, an increase from the 16% two weeks ago, based on data from bio surveillance conducted by the Department of Health (DOH).

At 59%, the ICU occupancy for COVID-19 in NCR is “still safe,” the group added. However, it noted an increase in the occupancy by an average of 11 per day the past two weeks.

As for hospital bed occupancy for COVID-19 in NCR, it “is also safe at 53%,” the group said. However, there was increase of 94 per day in the past two weeks.

Analyzing the current trends, OCTA Research said the ICU occupancy will breach 70% in two weeks’ time, and the COVID-19 hospital bed occupancy “will be above 70% in three weeks.”

“The positivity rate in the NCR has increased to 14%, from 10% one week ago,” the group added.

The team said the government’s decision to implement ECQ in Metro Manila on August 6 “is timely.” The ECQ in NCR will be in effect until August 20.

“If the decision was delayed to August 15, the NCR would have breached 4,500 new cases per day, which would likely extend the lockdown and cause more negative impact on people and the economy,” it added.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Saturday said active COVID-19 cases in the NCR are projected to multiply by the thousands even with weeks of stricter community quarantines.

Vergeire said the country is already seeing the impact of the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant with the continued surge in new COVID-19 cases.

She added that even with ECQ, active cases in Metro Manila may still reach around 18,000 by the end of September.

The Philippines reported a record-high 11,021 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. This brought total cases to 1,649,341, including 1,544,443 recoveries and 28,835 deaths. —KG, GMA News