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No Covid-19 surge in NCR says DoH 

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The Department of Health (DoH) on Tuesday night reiterated that there is no “definite evidence” of a surge of Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila, contrary to earlier pronouncements of OCTA Research Group.

“The Department of Health (DoH) clarified that while there is an observed increase in cases, there is no definitive evidence of a surge in the National Capital Region (NCR),” the DoH said in a statement.

However, the agency said it is currently “monitoring daily trends and is immediately flagging areas with increases in rates of transmission based on two-week growth rates (TWGR), in affected population as per average daily attack rate (ADAR), and/or health care utilization.”

[Related story: OCTA: NCR ‘officially’ in Covid-19 surge]

Based on the DoH current data analysis, NCR is showing a 19 percent increase for its TWGR and has an ADAR of 6 cases per 100,000 population. This puts the region under moderate risk classification.

Local government units in NCR such as Makati, Las Piñas, Pasay, Pasig, Taguig, Paranaque, Manila, Valenzuela, Navotas, Marikina, and Caloocan all have positive TWGR – a trend reversal from negative two-week growth rates 3-4 weeks ago.

Additionally, Makati, Las Piñas, and Pasay have high risk ADAR.

The data analysis was conducted by DoH Epidemiology Bureau and FASSSTER — a tool the agency is using for modeling disease spreads in the country.

“In terms of our health care capacity, nationally we are seeing low health care and intensive care utilization rate. We are also closely monitoring pending ER admissions. While we have enough capacity as of now as evidenced by the low-risk HCUR and ICUR, we must continue our preparations to strengthen local health system capacities and further augment the needed resources to maintain these low-risk levels. We need to make sure that we have enough capacity to cope with the demand in the event that cases continue their upward trend,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a statement.

The agency said it is coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Metro Manila Center for Health Development, Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, and City Epidemiology and Surveillance Units to ensure that these signals of increase in cases are immediately flagged, investigated, and addressed as soon as possible.

“We acknowledge that there is an increase of our case metrics which is why we urge people to continue adhering to the minimum health standards and get vaccinated, and for our local government units to strictly implement our protocols. Otherwise, we might see daily active cases in NCR to reach 11,000 by the end of September 2021 based on the projections calculated by FASSSTER with the assumption that the Delta variant is 60 percent more transmissible, a conservative estimate of how fast the Delta variant will spread.” Vergeire added.

 

DoH opposes OCTA Research

The DoH noted the observations of independent expert groups but maintains that such observations should be carefully verified.

“While we acknowledge the differences in the metrics and methods of analysis used by these independent groups, we share the same goal to keep the case numbers down and improve the healthcare system of the country,” she said.

She also added that the department values the work of independent experts but appealed to them to be “more careful” in making pronouncements in terms of the national situation, as this may cause more panic and fear.

Independent research firm OCTA Research Group said the NCR is “officially” experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases.

The group said Metro Manila’s current reproduction rate is at 1.33, significantly higher compared to its reproduction rate of 0.6, a month ago.

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