Virus curve may flatten by end-Aug. to Sept.

823 students, teachers, personnel test positive for COVID-19 – DepEd

The flattening of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) curve is “possible” by end of August to September, according to a research group from the University of the Philippines (UP).

Dr. Guido David of the UP OCTA Research Team said Monday that COVID-19’s reproduction rate – or the number of people infected by the various carrier – went down to 1.1 from 1.5 after Metro Manila and four nearby provinces returned to the Modified 823 students, teachers, personnel test positive for COVID-19 – DepEd Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), the second strictest lockdown level, earlier this month.


“Actually nung one week ago pa, nakikita na namin na bumabagal yung trend sa buong Pilipinas nung repro - duction number pati nga sa National Capital Region (NCR), bumababa na rin yung r nought natin, ngayon ha - los malapit na siya sa 1, ibig sabihin medyo malapit na tayong mag-flatten ng curve (Actually, we already saw the slowing down trend of the reproduction rate about a week ago nationwide. The r-nought in the NCR is also de - creasing. It's now almost close to 1, which means flattening of the curve is near),” David said over DZMM.

If the basic reproductive number (R0 or r-nought) is greater than 1, the infection will spread exponentially. If R0 is less than 1, the infection will spread slowly and eventually die out. The higher value of the basic reproduc - tive number, the faster an epidemic will progress, David explained.

“Ibig sabihin kumokonti na rin finally yung bilang ng kaso, sana mag - patuloy na. Pwede pa kasing tumaas ito, pero sa nakita namin, bumababa na talaga yung trend (This means the number of cases is finally decreasing, I hope this continues. It can increase again, but as we see, the trend is really going down),” he added.

“Sana ma-sustain natin yan, maflatten natin at mapababa na yung kaso sa NCR at sa Calabarzon (Hopefully, we can sustain that, we can flatten the curve and decrease the number of new cases in the NCR and Calabarzon),” David added.

However, even after the curve has flattened, David said it may still take one or two more months before the number of cases will be at a “very manageable” level.

David also advised the public not to be complacent, because a surge can still happen again.

“Hindi naman ibig sabihin, flatten yung curve, tapos na. Kaya kailangan talagang continuous effort natin. Hindi tayo pwedeng magpabaya kasi pwedeng magka-surge ulit yan (Flattening the curve doesn't mean it's over. We still need to maintain our continuous effort. We cannot be complacent be - cause it can surge again),” he added.

The Philippines on Sunday reported 2,378 additional COVID-19 cases, the lowest one-day spike for new cases since July 29.

823 students, personnel test positive for COVID-19

Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday confirmed that 823 students, teachers, and non-teaching staff have contracted COVID-19.

During the “Handang Isip, Handa Bukas” virtual press briefing, DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction Management and Service (DRRMS) Director Ronilda Co said that as of August 23, there are 823 confirmed cases within the agency, including personnel and learners.

Of this number, 310 are active cases, 490 have recovered, and 23 have died.

Co said that these figures are based on the cumulative data from January 31 to August 23, 2020.

Co said that of the 823 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 297 are students (98 active, 193 recovered, and 6 deaths); 340 are teaching personnel (140 active, 191 recovered, and 9 deaths); and 186 are non-teaching personnel (72 active, 106 recovered, and 8 deaths). At the DepEd Central Office (CO) located in Pasig City, Co noted that there are 19 confirmed cases: six active, 12 recovered, and one death.

As directed by Education Secretary Leonor Briones, the DepEd was temporarily closed from August 19 to August 23 “to give way for a complexwide disinfection and contact-tracing Briones assured that “every precaution is al - ways undertaken” by concerned units.

“Hindi tayo nagig - ing careless, hindi tayo nagpapabaya (We’re not being careless, we don’t take things for grant - ed),” Briones said.

Citing data as data as of Aug 22, Co noted that out of the 797 confirmed COVID-19 cases, only “14 cases” were identified as work-related. Of this, six are teaching and eight (8) are nonteaching.

Briones noted that like in all other agencies, contract tracing is also a “huge challenge” for DepEd.

“Our numbers come directly from our regional offices,” she said.

“At this point, we cannot engage in fingerpointing. What we can say is that we are doing everything to ensure safety of our personnel because all the precautions are in place,” she added.

Co said necessary assistance is given to the DepEd personnel who contracted COVID-19. However, no assistance is given to the students “since they are under the care of their parents or families at home.”

Co also explained that all personnel are expected to be oriented and then to conform with or abide by the latest required health standards set by the DepEd.

For the needed isolation of COVID19 positive personnel, she said that the NEAP Marikina will be the CO Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility if the standards are not met in their home or is the nationally/LGU managed facility is not preferred.

DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Pascua, in an aide memoire dated Aug. 19, said that in order to provide immediate support and assistance to the “growing number of COVID-19 cases” in the CO, updated protocols will be issued.

This, he explained, is also in line with the new provisions from the recent issuances of the Department of Health (DOH). Concerned personnel are required to immediately report to their respective heads of office or the CO clinic doctor who is expected to “act immediately and appropriately.”

The COVID-19 Task Force will then coordinate the provision of necessary assistance and will also convene offices to “discuss and activity” and “to ensure the health and safety of our skeleton workforce.”

Citing latest data from DepEd, Co said that there are 21,775,473 learners; 871,486 are teaching personnel, and 52,317 non-teaching personnel.

Prioritizing safety and welfare Despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases within the agency, implement a case management plan.”

For the management of COVID-19 cases in DepEd field offices, Pascua said that they are also “currently finalizing specialized guidelines that would formalize the existing case management protocols in the field.”