Given the ‘slow uptick’ of Covid-19 cases detected by the Department of Health (DOH), it said on Tuesday, May 24 that it does not want to downplay the situation or declare it as a cause for panic.
Dr. Althea de Guzman, medical specialist at the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, said during the press briefing that they noted a slow uptick in Covid-19 cases National Capital Region (NCR) plus areas as well as the entirety of Luzon has shown a slow uptick in Covid-19 cases.
“Nakikita natin itong mga kaunti na pagtaas both cases and admissions actually since April. Pero tulad ng pagrereport natin ito ay hindi sustained. Hindi ito tuloy tuloy (We’ve been witnessing this small increase both in cases and admissions since April. But as we have been reporting, this is not sustained. It is not continuous),” she said.
She cited three reasons for the increase in cases: the public is more mobile; low compliance to minimum public health standards such as masking (MPHS) and crowding as people forget to observe physical distancing measures; third is the involvement of the Covid-19 variants of concern.
But De Guzman explained that the negative impact of these three things are minimized by two reasons: first is that a high percentage of people still follow MPHS and second, the country is still enjoying high immunity levels because of either previous infections or vaccinations as well as booster doses.
She emphasized the importance of following MPHS for the country to continuously minimize the increase of cases and for it to remain under minimal to low-risk case classification both for cases and healthcare utilization. She also urged the public to avail of free Covid-19 vaccination from the primary series to booster doses.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, Pediatric infectious disease expert, said that while the government has to recognize that cases are increasing, they cannot just use the number of cases as an indicator to modify its response to Covid-19.
“Tinutugma natin to doon sa capacity ng ating healthcare system para makapagrespond (Our response corresponds to the capacity of our healthcare system),” she said.
Ong-Lim also mentioned that in January, while Covid-19 cases did increase due to the Omicron variant, the impact on the healthcare system’s capacity was not as hard as with the Delta surge. So far, she said that the healthcare system is not very much challenged.
She reminded however, that this is not a reason to be complacent. Cases have not increased drastically, according to her, because of the good level of protection of the public either from previous infections or from Covid-19 vaccination.