The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday clarified that the National Capital Region (NCR) remains at a low risk classification for COVID-19.
In an advisory, the DOH said that while the number of cases in Metro Manila have grown over the last two weeks, its average daily attack rate (ADAR) is still less than one case per 100,000 population.
The NCR would require at least 818 cases daily for two weeks to reach an ADAR of six cases per 100,000 population, which would put it at moderate risk for COVID-19, the DOH said.
It also said the region’s health care utilization rate remains at low risk.
The DOH said infections are still expected at this stage of the pandemic, but most are asymptomatic, mild, or moderate.
Earlier, the Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) had approved recommendations to place the NCR and other areasunder Alert Level 1 from June 16 to June 30, despite the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the last few days.
Some 11 areas in the NCR have recorded a continuous increase in COVID-19 cases, the DOH said Wednesday.
These are the cities of Makati, Parañaque, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Pasig, Manila, Quezon, Marikina, and Valenzuela.
“Despite continued increase, cases remain low with average daily attack rates ranging from less than one case to up to three cases per 100,000 population among these areas,” the DOH said.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the development was “not that significant,” as it has not affected the admission rate in hospitals nor the number of severe and critical cases.
On Wednesday, the chief of the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) said children aged five and below should be given COVID-19 vaccination as this will complete the immunization coverage of the country.
During a briefing, VEP chief Dr. Nina Gloriani said “yes” when asked if she thinks those aged 5 and below should already be inoculated,given the reported rise in coronavirus infections.
Gloriani’s remark was made after Pfizer and partner BioNTech recently completed the filing with the US drugs regulator seeking authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine in children under 5 years of age. This included data showing three lower-dose shots of the vaccine generated a strong immune response in children as young as 6 months of age.
The DOH on Wednesday logged 256 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the nationwide caseload to 3,694,121.
The country’s active case tally also increased from 3,130 on Tuesday to 3,211 on Wednesday, the DOH said.
Among the top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were the National Capital Region (NCR) with 1,628, followed by Calabarzon with 478, Central Luzon with 265, Western Visayas with 241, and Central Visayas with 131.
The DOH reported a total of 3,630,449 patients recovered from the viral disease.
The Philippines’ death toll from COVID-19 remained at 60,461 with no new deaths recorded.
The DOH said at least 5,201 beds were occupied, while 24,979 were vacant as the bed occupancy in the country slightly increased to 17.2 percent from the earlier 17 percent.
The DOH also said a total of 18,807 individuals were tested, while 323 testing labs submitted data as of June 14.
OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said Wednesday’s number of new cases was lower than the group’s forecast 450 to 500.
Earlier, Vergeire warned of a possible increase in severe and critical COVID-19 cases by August, citing the waning immunity of the public.
The Vergeire said the country’s severe and critical cases are currently stable and hospitals are not overwhelmed.
She added that there was waning immunity due to the slow uptake of booster shots.
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