The Philippines logged 7,398 new COVID-19 cases from June 27 to July 3, 2022 with a daily average of 1,057 cases, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.
The DOH reported that this average is 60 percent higher than the average of 662 cases recorded from June 20 to June 26.
Data also showed that 497 severe and critical cases are currently admitted, making up 8.4 percent of total COVID-19 admissions.
Of the intensive care unit beds, 15.3 percent are occupied while 19.9 percent of the non-ICU COVID-19 beds are in use.
The DOH said the country logged 19 new severe and critical cases.
More than 70.7 million individuals, or 78.64 percent of the government’s target population, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The DOH said 15.1 million individuals have received their booster shots.
More than 6.7 million senior citizens or 77.66 percent of the target population have also received their primary vaccine series, the DOH also said.
The DOH said there were also 74 verified deaths during the past week. However, none occurred from June 20 to July 3.
The independent OCTA Research Group, meanwhile, said the COVID-19 reproduction number—or the number of people who can be infected by one case—was recorded at 1.5 I Metro Manila.
A reproduction number that is below 1 indicates that the transmission of the virus is slowing down, while a higher number points to an increase in its rate of infection.
Some areas of Calabarzon, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, Pampanga, Benguet, and Western Visayas have also shown an increase in cases, said OCTA fello Guido David said.
But David said they expect cases in Metro Manila to go down in a week or two, as its growth rate has slowed.
Over the weekend, the DOH said it is considering including COVID-19 vaccines to its regular immunization program.
This move is part of a review of its policies to increase penetration of vaccines and boosters more than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and at the start of a new administration, the DOH said.
While a head for the department has yet to be appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) will continue to operate and administer shots in vaccination sites all over the country, the DOH said.
“NVOC is also reviewing existing policies to identify possible points for revision, one of which is the integration of COVID-19 vaccines to routine immunization,” the DOH said.
Among the vaccine-preventable diseases being addressed by current government immunization drives are polio, measles, pneumonia, rabies, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B.
The shift is seen as a move to help address vaccine hesitancy, particularly on boosters, and ensure many Filipinos remain protected against the coronavirus.
“If we’re really saying this is endemic, then it should be routine. And the way this should be managed should be like a program. Like every year you have to vaccinate X million people. That’s how it’s going to be,” Dr. Susan Pineda-Mercado, adjunct faculty of the University of the Philippines-Manila-National Institutes of Health National Telehealth Center, said at a UP online forum on Friday.
It would use “granular and localized analysis” of areas with low first booster vaccine coverage and high unvaccinated numbers to focus its immunization efforts, the DOH said.
Health experts are pointing to the slow uptick in boosters as a factor in the increase of COVID-19 cases in the country in previous days, along with relaxed implementation of minimum health protocols.
Only two out of 10 Filipinos who have been fully vaccinated (or 15 million out of nearly 71 million) have received their boosters as of July 1, data from the DOH COVID-19 vaccine tracker showed.
Dr. Albert Domingo, director of the DOH Communication Office and Disease Prevention And Control Bureau, health care workers must take the lead in getting boosted first.
Only half of fully-vaccinated health workers, or 1.4 million out of 3 million in the A1 category, have received boosters.
Dr. Jubert Benedicto, pulmonologist head of the CCU-Management Action Team at the Philippine General Hospital, reminded the public that they need to still take the risk of infection seriously.
DOH technical advisory group member Dr. Edsel Salvana said Sunday that older or immunocompromised COVID-19 patients could still face complications, such as strokes.
“COVID-19 doesn’t just attack the lungs. It also makes your blood clot a lot. We see people with heart attacks and strokes during or shortly after infection even if they only have mild COVID-19 symptoms,” Salvana wrote in a Facebook post.
“This is why we still have to protect the most vulnerable from
infection, even if we expect it to be mild,” Salvana said.