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NCR COVID-19 positivity rate up to 9.2%, another wave likely —OCTA

Another wave of COVID-19 infections may start in the National Capital Region (NCR) with the observed "spike" in its positivity rate, independent monitoring group OCTA Research said Thursday.

OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David reported that NCR’s seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate jumped from 7.4% on November 15 to 9.2% on November 22.

"NCR weekly positivity rate spiked up from 7.4% to 9.2%. Unless these trends do not progress, we could be seeing the start of another wave of infections in the NCR (similar to what we saw in June)," David said on Twitter.

Positivity rate refers to the percentage of people who were found positive for COVID-19 among the total number of individuals tested.

In a Dobol B TV interview, David said that the rising positivity rate in NCR may be an indication of a “surge or mini surge.”

“Hindi pa natin masasabi ngayon kung ano ang dahilan talaga kasi na-observe pa lang natin itong uptick. Titignan pa natin kung magtutuloy-tuloy ito. Pero sa ibang areas, hindi naman tumataas pa. Although may mga areas na tumaas [ang positivity rate],” he added.

(We cannot say now what the real reason is for the uptick because we have only observed it, and we will still see if it continues. But in other areas, it is not increasing. Although there are areas in which positivity rates have increased.)

According to data from the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday, NCR recorded the highest number of cases in the recent two weeks with 3,382.

This was followed by Calabarzon with 1,973, Western Visayas with 1,444, Central Luzon with 1,131, and Central Visayas with 1,078.

New subvariant?

David also said that they are monitoring the possible entry of the new COVID-19 Omicron sublineage BQ.1, which cases are now increasing in the United States and Europe.

“Iniisip namin, it’s just a matter of time baka makapasok din ‘yan dito. Wala pa tayong confirmation from Genome Center,” he said.

(We're thinking that it's just a matter of time before it gets here. We don't have confirmation yet from the Genome Center.)

According to a Reuters report, there is no evidence yet that BQ.1 is linked with increased severity compared to the circulating Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5. However, European officials warned it may evade some immune protection, citing laboratory studies in Asia.

Overall new COVID-19 infections in the Philippines logged on Wednesday were at 703 — the third day straight of fewer than 1,000 new cases.

The DOH on Tuesday said it will hold another three-day nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive in December in a bid to increase the booster uptake and inoculation rate among Filipino children.

Based on DOH's data, 73.7 million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 20.9 million individuals have received their first booster shot.

Currently, the second booster shots are available only for frontline healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities.

More than 3.5 million Filipinos have received their second booster dose, according to the DOH. —KBK, GMA Integrated News