Five cities tagged as ‘high-risk’ areas for COVID-19 infection

Published December 1, 2020, 4:56 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Five local government units (LGUs) across the country remained “high-risk” for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, while eight others were identified as “areas of concern” due to an increase in the number of new cases in the past week.


OCTA Research Team, which has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the country, marked Makati City, Lucena City in Quezon, Batangas City, Davao City, and Pagadian City in Zamboanga Del Sur as “high-risk” areas because of high daily caseload and attack rate, and an alarming hospital occupancy in their communities.

The research team also dubbed several areas as “provinces of concern” which include Metro Manila, Davao Del Sur, Quezon, Negros Occidental, Pampanga, Bulacan, Misamis Oriental, and Western Samar.

“We are concerned that these LGUs may experience high hospital burden in the coming weeks that may stress their health care systems and overwhelm their medical frontliners,” OCTA said in its report.

LGUs were listed as “areas of concern” or “high risk” if there is a high number of cases recorded daily, a high COVID-19 attack rate, and a high hospital occupancy in their communities, OCTA said.

The attack rate, the team explained, is the number of new cases per day relative to population. For example, a daily attack rate of 5 percent per 1,000 means that there are five new cases per 100,000 of the population. 

According to OCTA, though the country had a “relatively flat to small increase” in cases, these are more spread out throughout the country. 

Based on OCTA’s latest monitoring report, a rise in new cases per day was observed in the National Capital Region with an 18% increase, Davao with 14%, and Western Visayas with 5%.

The group added that Metro Manila remains to be the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country and the region with the highest number of new cases per day in the past week which rose to 404 recorded from Nov. 22 to 28, from 343 from Nov. 15 to 21.

To reverse the increase in transmission in their communities, the research team urged the identified high-risk LGUs to further intensify their efforts at testing, tracing, and isolation.

“The situation remains fickle at the local level and requires more vigilant monitoring. Given the large differences in access to healthcare facilities from region to region, it is important to build up testing capacities/isolation areas in Mindanao and Visayas, where an increase in COVID-19 cases may be more difficult to manage and control,” OCTA added.

The implementation of more aggressive and effective localized lockdowns with stricter border controls is also urgently needed to suppress further viral transmissions in the high-risk LGUs, the group said.

OCTA also called on the national and local governments to work together to limit the spread of new cases through increasing testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine, and the implementation of small, targeted lockdowns to contain “super-spreading events” in LGUs.  

Citizens must also continue to be vigilant and disciplined in following the minimum health standards set by the DOH, it added.

“We urge the national and the local governments to strictly monitor and enforce compliance with minimum health standards such as physical distancing, the wearing of face mask and face shields, and proper hygiene to reverse the increase in transmissions at the community level,” the team said.