The Philippines logged 15,789 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the second day that the daily tally fell below 20,000, the Department of Health (DOH) reported. The new cases brought the total number of infections to 3,475,293.
The positivity rate was at 35.8 percent, based on 48,725 people tested on Jan. 24. This was still much higher than the target set by the World Health Organization (WHO) of under 5 percent.
The DOH also said Wednesday that it has observed a sustained increase in COVID-19 cases in the Visayas and Mindanao.
In an advisory, the DOH noted infections in the Visayas rose by 87.35 percent while those in Mindanao increased by 164.72 percent from the previous week.
“Regions 6 (Western Visayas), 7 (Central Visayas), and 11 (Davao Region) have been the top regions in the VisMin (Visayas-Mindanao) island groups based on their seven-day moving average since Jan. 19, 2022, with bed utilization at moderate risk and ICU utilization at moderate risk,” the DOH said.
The independent OCTA Research Group said Cebu City is classified as “high risk” for Covid-19, as the city’s seven-day average of new cases increased to 722 from Jan. 19 to 25 from last week’s 325.
Its current average daily attack rate is 69 percent while its seven-day positivity rate is 40 percent.
On the other hand, OCTA said the reproduction number of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region (NCR) had decreased to 0.71.
Reproduction rate refers to the number of people who can be infected by one case. A reproduction number that is below 1 indicates that the transmission of the virus is slowing down.
David earlier said the reproduction number in NCR had gone down to 0.91, adding that it was a confirmation of the downward trend not just in new COVID-19 cases but in active cases as well.
Nationwide, 66 new fatalities were reported Wednesday, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 53,664.
The DOH also reported 32,712 new recoveries, bringing the total number of recoveries to 3,191,219.
There were 230,410 active cases, of which 6,902 were asymptomatic; 218,711 were mild; 2,982 were moderate; 1,507 were severe; and 308 were critical.
Nationwide, 48 percent of ICU beds, 52 percent of isolation beds, 53 percent of ward beds, and 25 percent of ventilators, were in use.
In Metro Manila, 42 percent of ICU beds, 44 percent of isolation beds, 47 percent of ward beds, and 24 percent of ventilators, were in use.
An infectious disease expert, meanwhile, said the government should subsidize drugs for COVID-19 treatment.
Antiviral drug molnupiravir, when given within five days of onset of symptoms, prevents patients’ progression to severe disease by 30 percent, said Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of adult infectious diseases at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.
“There should be monitoring of the patient given but I think the bottom line is accessibility and this accessibility should also include a subsidy from the government. It should be free for those who cannot really afford this drug,” Solante told ANC’s Headstart.
“For now, we don’t have molnupiravir in most of these government hospitals. We’re using remdesivir for these patients,” Solante said, noting that the drug is good for mild to moderate cases.
The DOH said it has already distributed funds to government hospitals for the purchase of the drugs.
“Ever since these new drugs have come in, it has been part of the management of our hospitals,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
The DOH is also drafting a new policy on opening access to these drugs through retailers, Vergeire said.