DOH warns of new peak in COVID cases in Philippines

Nicholas Yong·Senior EditorTue, 21 June 2022, 4:48 pm

Healthworkers prepare to inoculate hospital workers with a booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine against the coronavirus in Valenzuela Medical Center, Valenzuela City, Philippines, April 25, 2022. DOH
Healthworkers prepare to inoculate hospital workers with a booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine against the coronavirus in Valenzuela Medical Center, Valenzuela City, Philippines, April 25, 2022. The Department of Health (DOH) urged the public to observe health protocols, warning of the start of another “peak” in COVID cases in the country. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday (June 20) warned of the start of another “peak” in COVID cases in the country, urging the public to observe health protocols, according to Inquirer.

“Right now what we’re seeing is that the number of cases is continuously increasing, especially here in the National Capital Region (NCR) and we can see that this is really the start of the peak in the number of cases,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a television interview.

“We are again guiding the public and making them aware that this might be the start when cases will continuously increase in the next couple of weeks.”

The DOH noted that detected infections rose by 82 per cent to 436 daily average new cases last week – the highest in about two months – from 240 the previous week. However, Vergeire would not call the increasing cases a “surge,” claiming that the term “has caused a lot of confusion among the public.”

Alert level unlikely to be raised

Health experts also say it is unlikely that Metro Manila’s alert level classification will shift to moderate risk as NCR is still far from the metrics that would merit a transition to the stricter Alert Level 2.

These include the average daily attack rate and the health-care utilization rate, which should be above the 50-percent mark for moderate risk classification.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvana, a consultant of the government’s COVID-19 task force, said during Monday’s Laging Handa briefing that there should be around 800 cases every day in Metro Manila for the next two weeks to merit a shift.

“Also, the hospital utilization rate should be above 50 percent. We are now at the low 20 percent,” added Salvana, citing the World Health Organization’s parameters. He noted that vaccination rates, as well as the use of face masks, have helped to keep the number of hospitalizations “very low” and limited the spread of the virus.

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