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DOH projects active NCR COVID-19 cases to double by February 15

The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday said active COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) are projected to double by the second week of February, as it reiterated that the surge in the region was not expected to peak till the end of January or as late as the second week of February.

“Nakikita natin na maaring mag-doble ang numero ng active cases compared to today at that time of February 15,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in an interviewed on PTV’s Laging Handa.

The Health official said that as of Saturday, January 15, active cases in the NCR stood at 149,000.

The latest available data on the DOH’s COVID-19 tracker, as of January 14, shows that total active cases in Metro Manila totaled 147,459.

In his daily prediction of new COVID-19 infections, OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David said cases in the NCR may be “peaking or close to peaking” based on limited data.

Vergeire, meanwhile, said that in the NCR the number of COVID-19 cases averaged 17,124 per day, faster than last week's 6,500 cases per day.

Nevertheless, she said that the case doubling time is slowing down in NCR from 2.2 days to four days.

The Philippines on Friday logged 37,207 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily tally since the start of the pandemic, increasing the nationwide count to 3,129,512.

The Department of Health said of the 37,207 reported cases on Friday, 36,577, or 98% occurred within the last 14 days, from January 1 to January 14, 2022.

The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were NCR with 16,824 or 46%, followed by Region 4-A with 8,580 or 23%, and Region 3 with 4,052 or 11%.

NCR Omicron community transmission

Vergeire said that community transmission of the Omicron variant was already present in the NCR.

“Bagamat hindi nakakahabol ang ating whole genome sequencing we already have determined that there are local cases already,” she said.

(Although our whole-genome sequencing is unable to keep up, we already have determined that there are local cases already.)

“Sa nakikita nating trend ngayon ito ang characteristics ng Omicron variant ‘yung mabilis na pagkalat, ‘yung very steep rise in the number cases as day passes, ‘yung doubling time na every two day na napakabilis. Ito pong lahat ay characteristics ng Omicron variant,” she added.

(The trend we are seeing now are the characteristics of the Omicron variant such as the faster spread, very steep rise in the number of cases as the day passes, the case doubling time is swift.)

The Health official said the DOH was seeing a similar situation in other regions such as Region IV-A, Region II, CAR, Region VI, VII, and V.

“Lahat ng regions ay may high-risk risk classification. Limang areas na critical ang case risk classification, ito po ang NCR, Region IV-A, Region II, CAR, and Region III,” she said.

(All of the regions are under high-risk risk classification. Five areas are under critical risk classification, these are NCR, Region IV-A, Region II, CAR, and Region III.)

The Philippines has been classified as a critical risk for coronavirus disease amid the sudden spike of infections believed to be driven by the Omicron variant, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Monday.

“Kung titignan natin ito dadating ang panahon madi-displace na po at magiging Omicron variant ang dominant variant dito sa ating bansa kung magtutuloy tuloy ang ganitong transmission,” Vergeire said.

(We are expecting that the Omicron variant will be the dominant variant in the country if the same level of transmission continues.)

— DVM, GMA News