NCR Covid cases near peak – OCTA

(UPDATE) COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila) are near their “peak” or highest number of cases over a period of time, according to research group OCTA.

OCTA lead researcher Dr Guido David said the weekly growth rate in the region fell from 57% on July 4 to 32% by July 11.

The reproduction rate also decreased from 1.59 on July 1 to 1.47 on July 8.

David said this suggests a “slowdown” in the growth of cases.

“There is a chance that cases in the NCR are peaking or have already peaked,” he said, but adding that trends for a possible peak would be clearer after a week.

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In a message to the Manila Times, David said he did not see the spike being higher than 1,000 cases in the NCR alone.

Currently, the region’s seven-day average is now 710 cases from July 4-11, which equates to an average daily attack rate of 4.93 cases per 100,000 population. The positivity rate is 10.9%.

The region’s hospital utilization rate also increased to 28%, while intensive care unit admissions in the region were at 20%.

In a separate briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country should not remain closed forever despite the emergence of new subvariants across the world.

This comes as experts have warned of the emergence of two new sub-lines, the BA.2.75 and BA.5.2.1 variants, which could possibly be more contagious than other circulating sub-variants such as the BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5.

Vergiere said the Ministry of Health has acknowledged that the Covid-19 virus continues to mutate. Thus, the country must live with and prevent border closures that would otherwise affect the economy.

“We cannot remain closed forever because people are hungry. We are aware that infections are expected due to the continued mutation of the virus,” she added.

Vergeire said that despite the continued increase in the number of cases in the NCR, Luzon and the Visayas, the country’s risk classification continues to be low risk.

Severe and critical cases are on a plateau, now less than 1,000 admissions since March, despite a slight increase in total admissions of 12%.

The country also added additional subvariant cases with 60 BA.5 cases, 17 BA.2.12.1 cases and two BA.4 cases detected in the latest round of sequencing.

Meanwhile, Vergeire said they will use a “metrics approach” to increase the number of booster vaccinations, especially among those vulnerable to serious illness.

She said they will use high traffic areas such as markets, churches, malls and other areas. They will also sweep areas where there are still unvaccinated older people and people with co-morbidities and convince them to get vaccinated for the first time.

As of July 11, about 71 million Filipinos had been fully vaccinated with the first round of vaccines, while 15.3 million had received their first booster and 954,000 had received their second booster.

Carol N. Valencia