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PH still low-risk for COVID even if ICU cases rise

The Philippines is still at low risk for COVID-19 despite the slight increase in admissions in intensive care units (ICU) nationwide, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday. 

This as the independent OCTA Research Group said COVID-19 infections in Metro Manila may have already peaked amid a slower growth rate.

Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, officer-in-charge at the DOH, said the country’s ICU utilization rate climbed to 28 percent from the previous 26 percent.

As of Aug. 10, Vergeire said there were a total of 871 severe and critical COVID-19 cases, making up 9.27 percent of total admissions.

Majority of hospital admissions—40.98 percent—were asymptomatic, while 40.77 percent were mild cases.

Vergeire said the Philippines remains at low risk classification as it currently has an average daily attack rate (ADAR) of 3.51 per 100,000 population, well below the ADAR of 6.0 per 100,000 cases to be considered a moderate risk OCTA felow Guido David, in a TeleRadyo Interview, said the COVID-19 growth rate in Metro Manila has been declining.

“We noticed that the growth rate is going down in Metro Manila. Actually, in Iloilo, too,” he said in Filipino.

“We see that maybe, cases have peaked in Metro Manila, and we hope it will continue too in Iloilo and maybe a few other provinces. But in other regions, cases are still rising,” he said.

David also said Filipinos should not let their guard down as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country.

The Philippines recorded 4,533 new COVID-19 cases, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed on Wednesday. Twenty-seven new deaths were also reported.

“What we noticed is that before, we had 0 deaths. Now we are in the 20s, so we know COVID is still here,” he said.

“We are not alarmed and we’re not raising the alert level, but we must still be aware because there are still deaths. There are severe and critical cases, that’s why some are still dying,” he said.

The country on Friday logged 4,661 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the nationwide tally to 3,823,084.

Active cases stood at 40,315, while 28 new fatalities brought the death toll to 60,944.

The DOH said the country logged 225 more cases of the highly transmissible Omicron subvariants BA.5, BA.4, and BA.2.12.1.

The country found 190 additional cases of the Omicron BA.5, 34 more cases of the BA.4, and one new case of the BA2.12.1, Vergeire said.

Of the 190 new BA.5 cases, 175 have recovered, while seven were undergoing isolation, and the status of the remaining eight patients was being verified, said Vergeire.

A total of 34 more BA.4 patients were also reported, with 33 having recovered while the outcome of the remaining case is still being verified.

Meanwhile, a patient from Davao Region tested positive for the BA.2.12.1 variant. The individual is now tagged as recovered, Vergeire said.

The DOH on Friday said about 14.1 million children and adolescents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the school opening this month.

Of the number, about 9.8 million are adolescents ages 12 to 17, while around 4.3 million are children ages 5 to 11, Vergeire said.

”This is good news ahead of the start of classes,” she said at a press briefing.

The Department of Education has set the opening of School Year 2022 to 2023 on Aug. 22.

The DepEd order indicates that public and private schools in basic education can implement distance and blended learning only until Oct. 31, 2022. Starting Nov. 2, schools must shift to five days of in-person classes per week, regardless of the alert level status in their area.

The latest DepEd data showed at least 18.6 million students in basic education have registered for the coming school year as of Wednesday. The figure is more than half of the agency’s target of 28.6 million learners.

To date, over 72 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against the disease. This includes 6.8 million senior citizens who have received the jab, the DOH said.

In its effort to increase the “wall of immunity,” the country has boosted about 16.8 million Filipinos.

The PinasLakas program aims to administer 23 million booster jabs within the first 100 days of the Marcos administration.

 

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