The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday declared five areas in the National Capital Region (NCR) to be under moderate risk following the continued rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Interviewed at the Laging Handa briefing, DOH spokesperson and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the following areas are now under moderate risk classification:
- San Juan
- Quezon City
According to the DOH, an area will be classified as moderate risk if it has a positive two-week growth rate in the number of COVID-19 cases and average daily attack rate (ADAR) of between 1 to 7. ADAR is the incidence showing the average number of new cases in a period per 100,000 people.
"Kapag tiningnan natin, ang kanilang mga growth rate ay lumalagpas ng 200% kasi nanggagaling sa mababang numero, biglang nagkaroon ng kaso kaya tumaas ang growth rate," Vergeire said.
(If we look at it, the growth rate of these areas has reached above 200% because from low numbers, cases suddenly increased.)
However, Vergeire said only one of the five mentioned areas had a slight increase in their hospital utilization with mild and asymptomatic admissions.
"Even though these five areas are under moderate risk classification, only one of them had a slight increase in hospital admissions and the rest are less than 50%," she said in a mix of Filipino and English.
Vergeire said despite the NCR also having a "slightly high" positivity rate of more than 5%, the DOH does not yet see the need for the region to be escalated to a higher alert level as the government also gives weight to hospital admissions.
"Escalation to Alert Level 2, hindi pa ho natin nakikita (We do not see the need for NCR to be escalated to Alert Level 2).
"Even though the positivity rate is increasing, as long as we can maintain our hospitals not getting overwhelmed, as long as there are less severe and critical [cases], our system is okay," she added.
The positivity rate refers to the percentage of people who were found positive for COVID-19 among the total number of individuals tested.
Vergeire reiterated the possibility that the COVID-19 infections in NCR may reach as high as 2,000 by the middle or end of July, citing the entry of more transmissible Omicron subvariants, low compliance of the public with the minimum public health standards, and waning immunity against the virus.
The DOH official however said there is no need to be alarmed.
"Hindi po kailangan mabahala, pero kailangan vigilant tayong lahat," Vergeire added.
(We need not to worry, but we all need to be vigilant.)
On Wednesday, the DOH said the Philippines was at low risk for COVID-19 even as it recorded a notable increase in coronavirus cases.
Vergeire said low risk means the ADAR remains at less than 1 per 100,000 population.
770 new cases
The Philippines on Friday logged 770 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily tally since March.
Based on the DOH’s latest data, the new infections brought the nationwide caseload to 3,699,251, while active cases increased to 6,068 from 5,523 on Thursday.
The NCR recorded 3,264 new cases in the past two weeks, followed by Calabarzon with 1,089, Western Visayas with 563, Central Luzon with 455, and Central Visayas with 279.
A total of 3,632,676 patients recovered from the respiratory disease, while the number of deaths increased to 60,507. —KG, GMA News