PH, US use different metrics for Covid-19 classification—DOH

Published August 16, 2022, 5:05 PM

by Analou de Vera


The Philippines and the United States (US) are using different metrics in order to determine the Covid-19 classification of an area, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire made the statement after the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel advisory, placing the Philippines under “high risk” for Covid-19.

“Unang-una kailangan maintindihan ng ating mga kababayan yun pong indicators or metrics na ginagamit ng CDC (First of all, our citizens need to understand that the indicators or metrics used by the CDC) for them to classify a country as high risk or low risk or moderate risk is different from the measures or metrics that we use in our country,” said Vergeire in a press briefing on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Vergeire said that the US CDC is using “incidence rate triangulated with the testing data” as their metric for determining the Covid-19 classification.

“In terms of this risk classification of US CDC, it talks about the number of cases and the number of those testing positive but we need to further go deep and analyze this,” said Vergeire.

Currently, the Philippines is giving more weight to the healthcare utilization rate rather than the number of new cases, said Vergeire.

“We know that the number of cases ay hindi po natin binibigyan ng (is not given) equal weight with our health care utilization. Dito po sa ating bansa, we already have aligned with most of the countries kung saan ang pinaka of value na sa atin ngayon is to preserve our healthcare system (Here in our country, we have already aligned with most of the countries wherein we give more value on preserving our healthcare system),” she said.

It is important to know the figures on how many patients are severe or critical for Covid-19, said Vergeire.

“Ilan ba dyan ang naospital at alam po natin ang sagot dito satin sa Pilipinas. Ang atin pong severe and critical infection remains to be at that low number, less than 1000; and ang atin pong mga naa-admit manageable at nape-preserve pa rin natin ang ating healthcare system’s capacity (How many are being hospitalized and we know the answer here in the Philippines. Our severe and critical infections remain to be at that low number, less than 1000; and our admissions are still manageable and we are still able to preserve our healthcare system’s capacity),” said Vergeire.

Based on the latest DOH data, the number of new cases in the Philippines is currently showing a “plateau” trend.

“All island groups [are] on a plateau.” the DOH said. It also noted that a “continued slow increase has been observed since early July 2022.”

There is a decrease in the number of new cases in Metro Manila in recent days, said Vergeire. However, the public should not be complacent.

“Bagama’t nakita natin na may konting pagbagal, especially in National Capital Region, yesterday nakita natin medyo bumaba. Pero huwag muna tayong masyadong maging complacent. Tingnan po natin ang trends natin hanggang makatapos po itong linggong ito para makasiguro tayo na pababa na ang kaso (Although we are seeing a slow increase in cases, especially in the National Capital Region, wherein yesterday—there’s a slight decrease in cases, let’s not be too complacent. Let’s look at our trends until the end of this week so we can be sure that the cases are going down),” said Vergeire.

“And kahit bumababa ang kaso, kailangan patuloy pa rin tayo na sumusunod sa mga safety protocols (And even though the cases are decreasing, we must continue to follow the safety protocols),” she added.