The Department of Health (DOH) has noted a slight increase in the number of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases being reported daily nationwide.
“We’re seeing increases in our cases nationally,” said Dr. Alethea De Guzman, officer-in-charge of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, during a media forum on Tuesday, June 15.
De Guzman said that nationwide, “decline in cases have stalled and a plateauing trend continues.”
She noted that from June 7 to 14, the average daily cases stood at 6,609, “around a hundred cases higher” than the average daily infections recorded in the prior week at 6,558.
“Of course, we have already significantly declined from the peak of 10,845 (period of March to April) pero ayun nga yung sinasabi natin na we need to be even more vigilant kasi malayo pa tayo doon sa pre-surge levels natin, which is kung titingnan, hindi pa tayo umaabot ng 2,000 (but what we’re saying, we need to be even more vigilant because we are still far from our pre-surge levels, which is if we look at the data, we’re not even at 2,000 yet),” said De Guzman.
“In fact, in January to February we were even reporting less than a thousand cases per day,” she added.
The DOH also sounded the alarm on some areas in the country as the classification of their healthcare utilization is now at “high to critical risk.”
The following areas are: Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, Zambales, Bataan, Naga City, Albay, Sorsogon, Iloilo City, Capiz, Iloilo province, Guimaras, Antique, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga Del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Cagayan De Oro City, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, Davao Occidental, South Cotabato, General Santos City (Dadiangas), Lucena City, Laguna, Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Cotabato City, Butuan City, Surigao del Norte, City of San Juan, and City of Magat.
“Twenty of these priority areas are coming from our Visayas and Mindanao regions,” said De Guzman.
NCR+ area COVID-19 situation
The National Capital Region (NCR) is currently in a “slow decline” in terms of new COVID-19 cases, said De Guzman.
“Looking at the two-week growth rate and ADAR (average daily attack rate) of NCR, nakikita natin na bumababa naman (we see that it is declining),” she said.
“Tayo ay natutuwa from the higher risk classification of NCR, ngayon ay moderate risk na siya (We are glad that from higher risk classification of NCR, it is now under moderate risk),” she added.
The healthcare utilization rate in Metro Manila is currently at 36 percent, which is classified under the “safe zone” category, said De Guzman.
Meanwhile, there is a “less consistent case pattern” observed in the Plus areas or the provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna, said De Guzman.
“Inconsistent kasi yung pattern nya (Its pattern is inconsistent). There will be times that it’s going up and then it will be going down. So, hindi sya (it’s not a) steady decline as we’re seeing in NCR,” she said.
The current downward trend in NCR Plus is considered “fragile,” said De Guzman.
“Ito namang nakikita nating pagbaba sa kaso lalo na sa NCR Plus ay tinatawag naming fragile. Ibig sabihin, [kapag] magkaroon tayo ng mga super spreading events, it’s possible na dadami nanaman, magkakaroon tayo ng tinatawag na spike in our cases (The decreasing trend we are observing in NCR Plus is considered fragile. Meaning, if a superspreader event happens, it is possible that the cases will increase again),” she said.
“That would really depend on how well we are implementing our PDITR (prevent, detect, isolate, treat, reintegrate) strategies and always the core is the minimum public health standards adherence,” she added.
COVID-19 situation in VisMin
Cases continue to increase in Visayas and Mindanao, said De Guzman.
“Mindanao cases have not gone down after an uptick in cases… Visayas now has the steepest increase in cases among the island groups,” said De Guzman.
She also noted that the healthcare capacity in Visayas and Mindanao “must be augmented now” as the rise in cases is still being seen.
“As we are seeing increases in Visayas and Mindanao…we see na ang kanilang healthcare capacity ay fragile din. Kailangan, hanggang hindi pa overwhelm ang ilang areas natin sa Visayas and Mindanao, natuto na tayo from NCR Plus na ngayon palang dapat inaugment na natin yung critical care capacities (As we are seeing increases in Visayas and Mindanao … we see that their healthcare capacity is also fragile. It is necessary now that their critical care capacities be augmented while some areas in Visayas and Mindanao are not yet overwhelmed with patients),” she said.