A number of areas in Luzon still have a COVID-19 positivity rate above 20 percent, but Metro Manila’s rate has dropped to 12.9 percent, the independent monitoring OCTA Research Group said Monday.
OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said the one-week positivity rates in Albay, Cagayan, Camarines Sur, Isabela, La Union, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac all declined but were still more than 20 percent as of Aug. 27.
The positivity rate refers to the percentage of people who were found positive for COVID-19 among the total number of individuals tested.
The positivity rate was seen highest in Camarines Sur at 46.7 percent on Saturday, which was slightly lower compared to 47.6 percent on Aug. 20.
It was followed by Nueva Ecija with 42.5 percent, Tarlac with 37.3 percent, Isabela with 30.1 percent, Cagayan with 29.7 percent, Albay with 21.2 percent, and La Union with 20.1 percent.
Bataan posted the lowest positivity rate in Luzon at 8.8 percent from its previous 10.5 percent.
“Nearly all provinces in Luzon had a decrease in positivity rate,” David said.
In the NCR, meanwhile, David said the one-week positivity rate went down from 14.6 percent on Aug. 20 to 12.9 percent on Aug. 27.
An infectious disease expert, meanwhile, said there is still a possibility that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country may increase, even as the number of the subvariant BA.5 cases slowly declines.
Dr. Rontgene Solante made the comment when asked about the Department of Health’s (DOH) projection of at least 9,000 COVID-19 cases daily by the end of September to October if minimum health standards are not followed.
“Yes, I fully agree with that. Because as we see with this BA.5, it’s decreasing slowly, so there’s a possibility that it will still increase,” Solante said at a public briefing.
“Especially with the increase in mobility and gatherings and we know that BA.5 can still infect you even if you are vaccinated,” he said.
Despite this, Solante said the projections could be prevented by getting the first booster shot or second booster shot against COVID-19.
Solante said there is also a possibility that hospital admissions may increase.
“There’s always that possibility that hospital admissions will rise, and that those who will be admitted are the high-risk or the vulnerable population,” he said.
At the same time, Solante said calls for a lockdown after a fourth case of monkeypox was found were “overacting.”
“Our current cases are not enough yet to say that we need to impose a lockdown,” Solante said.
The US CDC had said that the highly transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.5 has been said to be good at evading the immune protection afforded either by vaccination or prior infection.
The Philippines logged some 19,262 additional COVID-19 cases in the past week, the Department of Health data showed Monday.
From Aug. 22 to 28, the country recorded an average of 2,752 daily infections, which is 19 percent lower compared to the previous week, according to the DOH’s latest bulletin.
Of the new infections, 110 were severe and critical, the DOH said.
A total of 807 or 10.5 percent of COVID-19 patients in hospitals were in severe and critical condition as of Sunday, said the DOH.
Some 635 or 24.9 percent of 2,551 intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients were occupied.
During the past week, the DOH said it verified 316 more COVID-related fatalities, citing late encoding of death information.
Around 72.4 million people have been fully vaccinated against the respiratory disease, of whom 17.8 million have received their booster shots.