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OCTA: NCR COVID-19 positivity rate breached 10% mark

The COVID-19 positivity rate in Metro Manila increased beyond 10% on Sunday, data by independent monitoring group OCTA Research showed on Tuesday.

OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said that the percentage of people who were found positive for COVID-19 in the National Capital Region (NCR) among the total number of individuals tested jumped from 7.3% on April 16, to 10.6% as of April 23.

Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, however, reiterated that there are a lot of factors affecting the positivity rate, thus it should not be the sole basis of the COVID-19 situation in the country.

“‘Pag tinignan natin ngayon kumpara sa dati, napaka-konti na…ang laki ng difference ng mga taong nagpa-patest compared to before sa ngayon. ‘Pag tinignan natin at nakita natin na kakauti lang ang nagpapatest tapos out of those na nagpa-patest, sila ‘yung nagpo-positive, maaring biased na tayo doon sa mga taong may talagang sintomas na kaya sila lang ang nagpapa-test,” she explained at a press conference.

(As compared to before, only a few people now get themselves tested. We may get biased towards people who really have symptoms and get tested, if we only look at those who are getting tested.)

Vergeire stressed that people should not be afraid and panic despite the changes in positivity rate, so long as they know how to protect themselves against COVID-19 through masking, and getting vaccinated and boosted. 

“It would be unfair for our local governments and our other sectors kung magde-deklara tayo ngayon na magpapapanic tayo ng tao at sasabihing high risk tayo just based we have based our analysis on our positivity rate,” she added.

(It would be unfair for our local governments and our other sectors if we declare now that we are at high risk, and make people panic just because we based our analysis on our positivity rate.)

Twenty-six areas have been placed under Alert Level 2 from April 15 to 30, 2023, according to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on Sunday.

Under Alert Level 2, certain establishments and activities are allowed at 50% capacity indoors for fully vaccinated adults (and minors, even if unvaccinated), and 70% capacity outdoors.

Second boosters

Further, Vergeire said the DOH will no longer conduct national COVID-19 vaccination day, nor establish special COVID-19 vaccination sites for the rollout of the second booster dose.

“Sa palagay namin ay hindi naman kailangan sa ngayon dahil alam naman po at naipakalap natin ang impormasyon na maari nang makipagbigay ng second boosters among general population at bukas naman ang ating mga health center…para maka-receive ng bakuna ang ating mga kababayan,” she said.

(We don't think it's necessary right now because we know and have given information that we can give second boosters to our general population and our health centers are open where our countrymen can receive the vaccine.)

The Health official said that the DOH will provide information regarding its second booster accomplishment next week.

It was on April 12 when Vergeire announced that healthy adults aged 18 and above may now receive the second booster dose, at least six months after receiving the first dose.

At least 78.4 million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

There are also 23.8 million individuals who have received their first booster shots, while 4.4 million got their second dose.

According to Vergeire, booster shots are still not recommended for ages 12 years old and below. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News