The increase in the number of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Metro Manila seemed to be slowing down, however, the public should not be complacent over this development, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday, Sept. 24.
“We have observed over the past month that while reported cases remained high at national level and (in the) National Capital Region (NCR), there was a slower rate of increase,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a press briefing on Friday, Sept. 24.
“This slow down in new cases was reflected in the positive but lower two week growth rates over the past month and a similar decline in the reproduction number,” she added.
However, Vergeire said that the DOH is being careful in assessing the COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila.
The DOH spokesperson said that it is too early to say if the alert level system scheme being implemented in Metro Manila contributed to the slowing down of the transmission.
“It is too early to say. Isang linggo palang tayo nakapagpatupad. Hindi pa ho natin maibibigay o masasabi kung itong mabagal na pagbaba dito sa National Capital Region na mga kaso ay talagang maico-contribute natin solely dito sa pagpapatupad natin nitong policy shift natin na ito (We have been implementing it for only a week. We cannot yet give or say whether this slow decline of cases here in the National Capital Region really contribute solely to our implementation of this policy shift),” said Vergeire.
“Kailangan pa ho namin ng mas mahabang panahon para makita po natin yung naging epekto talaga nitong ginawa nating policy shift (We still need more time to see the real impact of this policy shift),” she added.
Vergeire said that they are currently analyzing if the “decline in RT-PCR laboratory output” could have affected the case trend in Metro Manila.
“One of the biggest factors might be the decrease in the laboratory outputs here in the National Capital Region. So iyan po ang ating pinagtratrabahuhan ngayon. We are coordinating with the MMDA [Metro Manila Development Authority) and local governments to see kung bakit bumaba ang output (So that’s what we’re working on now. We are coordinating with the MMDA and local governments to see why the output has dropped),” she said.
Vergeire said that the number of tests done in Metro Manila decreased from 287,548 the previous week to 258,047 recently—a decline of 10.3 percent.
“We are currently assessing the reasons for this decline and if it reflects a true decline in cases or just affected by the other factors such as ongoing active case finding, contact tracing, and the use of the antigen to complement the RT-PCR testing,” she said.
“We remain cautious in interpreting our numbers. While we are seeing signs of decline in cases, it is important to keep in mind that our trend is also affected by factors such as our testing output and the detection activities such as active case finding and testing,” she added.