Covid-19 cases near peak – OCTA


THE number of new Covid-19 cases in the country raced past 30,000 on Monday and the independent OCTA Research Group said the virus’ surge could be approaching its peak.

The Department of Health reported 33,169 new infections, up from 28,707 cases on Sunday.

BOOST SHOT A resident of Navotas City gets a booster shot at the Navotas City Hospital on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. The hospital limited its admissions amid rising Covid-19 cases. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

Total cases are a few thousand shy of 3 million, the Health department said.

Most of the new cases happened during December 28 to January 10 period.

The National Capital Region or Metro Manila topped the list with 18,535 cases, followed by Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) with 7,443 cases and Central Luzon with 3,403.

The positivity rate was at a high 46 percent, which meant that nearly half of the 73,234 samples processed tested positive for the virus.

Most of the 157,256 active cases are mild and moderate, and severe and critical cases remain steady at around 1,762.

Dr. Guido David, OCTA senior research fellow, said the positivity rate in Metro Manila has reached 52 percent, but that the rate was showing signs of slowing down.

In an interview on CNN Philippines on Monday, David said he also believes that Covid cases could be peaking soon.

“There is hope that the positivity rate is now stalling or it is close to the peak. If that happens, that would be great. If the NCR [rate] starts to peak, we may see a downward trend by next week, but it is too preliminary to say if it is peaking,” David said.

He said the trend is the opposite in other regions where reproduction numbers and positivity rates are still climbing.

David said that if the number of cases outpaces the number of Covid tests being done, the actual case count may be difficult to determine and the government cannot effectively draw up a proper response to the Covid wave.

“If we hit 40,000 to 50,000, this will be close to the worst-case scenario because we’d be losing visibility already. If the positivity rate in the NCR reaches 60 percent… at that point, the picture would not be clear anymore,” David said.

In a briefing on Monday, National Task Force for Covid-19 deputy chief implementer and Presidential Adviser on Covid-19 Response Vivencio Dizon said vaccinations are making the difference in the country’s fight against the pandemic.

“Ang silver lining talaga natin dito ay marami nang nabakunahan. At dahil marami nang nabakunahan, marami po — higit na nakararami sa mga nagkakasakit ng Covid-19, nitong bagong variant na ito ay mild at asymptomatic. At ang pruweba po niyan ay hindi po ganun kabilis ang pagpuno ng ating mga ospital (The silver lining is we have vaccinated a lot of individuals and because of this, many who got sick of Covid-19 and of this new variant are mild and asymptomatic. The fact that our hospitals are not getting congested attests to this,” Dizon said.

He said the national government is talking with provincial officials in Central Luzon and Calabarzon to convert some resorts and hotels there into temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.

Dizon stressed that the government will continue to implement risk-based testing, giving priority to senior citizens and persons with comorbidities amid calls to conduct mass testing.

The government is also studying the possibility of shortening isolation periods for individuals who are Covid-positive by up to seven days for symptomatic individuals, five days for asymptomatic individuals and the removal of quarantine for closed contacts, he added.

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