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Philippines remains low risk for COVID-19 despite ‘notable’ increase in cases


The Philippines remains at low risk for COVID-19 even as it records a notable increase in coronavirus cases, the Department of Health (DOH) announced Wednesday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said this means the average daily attack rate remains at less than 1 per 100,000 population.

“Bagamat nakakakita na tayo ng notable increase sa bilang ng mga kaso, nananatili pa rin tayong nasa low risk case classification,” Vergeire said in a media briefing.

(While we are seeing a notable increase in the number of cases, we remain at low-risk case classification.)

The Health official said the country recorded 3,198 new cases from June 14 to June 20 with 456 cases per day, almost as high as the number of daily cases reported in the second week of February at 466 cases per day.

The country’s positivity rate has also increased to 3.1%

Asked if it is possible for cases to reach 10,000 per day, Vergeire said nothing is certain.

“Ang dami natin iko-consider and for us to really say accurately if it’s going to happen or not, we cannot say it right now with certainty that it’s really going to happen,” she said.

However, she said this can be prevented as long as the public continues wearing face masks, practicing safety protocols, and getting vaccinated against the virus.

Metro Manila

Meanwhile, Vergeire said the National Capital Region (NCR) showed a sharp increase in recent weeks.

“Ang NCR… ay nakakapagpakita ng sharp increase over the recent weeks. Patuloy na tumataas ang bilang ng mga kaso sa NCR simula mid-May,” Vergeire said.

(NCR is showing a sharp increase in the recent weeks. There has been a sustained increase in cases in the region since mid-May.)

According to Vergeire, the positivity rate in the region has increased to 4.4%, nearing the benchmark of the World Health Organization.

In a message to reporters, the DOH said this covers the period of June 13 to June 19.

Vergeire said daily cases in NCR also increased to almost 300 from 100 per day.

“But what would be most important would be nakikita natin even though there is continued increase in the number of cases, hindi sumasabay ang severe and critical cases na nakikita natin,” she said.

(But what would be most important is that even though there is a continued increase in the number of cases, our severe and critical admissions are not increasing.)

In a message to GMA News Online, OCTA fellow Guido David also said the region’s positivity rate has surpassed 5.5% as of yesterday.

Meanwhile, for DOH Technical Advisory Group member Edsel Salvana, the increase in positivity rate does not mean what it used to.

“I think we just have to remember na iba na ang virus ngayon (that the virus now is different) compared to two years ago. And so the parameters that we’re looking at are very, very different,” he said.

Salvana said the country is currently prioritizing the testing of senior citizens, the vulnerable population, and severe and critical cases.

"So naturally mas kaunti 'yung tine-test natin, mas mababa 'yung parameter, (our parameters are lower because we are conducting fewer tests)," he said.

The DOH also observed an increase for the rest of Luzon, NCR Plus areas, and the Visayas.

However, Vergeire said these areas recorded less than 80 cases per day.

Mindanao, on the other hand, is at a plateau with a low case trend. Vergeire said the agency observed a small increase in cases in the recent few days with less than 40 cases per day.

Admissions

Meanwhile, the Heath undersecretary said more than half of hospital admissions consist of asymptomatic and mild cases while the country records less than 1,000 severe and critical cases.

“Kasalukuyang nasa 554 cases ang (Currently, we have 554) severe at critical admissions since the middle of March of this year, currently showing a slight increase in the recent few days. This, however, remains to be less than 1% of our total hospital admissions,” she said.

Vergeire said the healthcare utilization rate also remains at low risk at 14.61% to 17.82% utilization for the rest of the regions.

As of June 20, the Philippines has vaccinated more than 70 million Filipinos or 77.85% of the target population.

Meanwhile, almost 9.5 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 and 3.3 million children aged 5 to 11 have also been fully vaccinated.

The DOH said more than 682,000 healthcare workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised individuals have also received their 2nd booster shot.—AOL, GMA News

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