Less compliance with COVID protocols worries DOH

June 28, 2022 Lee Ann P. Ducusin 309 views

AMID the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases, the Department of Health (DOH) has expressed concern that the country’s observance of minimum public health standards has decreased by 21 percent.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained that based on new projections, the National Capital Region’s COVID-19 cases may shoot up to as high as 4,600 per day by the middle of July, considering the declined compliance to health protocols and the increased mobility of people.

“Currently po, ang decline na natin sa pag-comply ay 21%. Kapag ganito ang nangyari, we are seeing na by the middle of July, baka tumaas pa ho ang ating daily cases dito sa NCR from 3,800 to 4,600,” she said.

Vergeire, meanwhile, said the whole country may see the cases escalate up to 5,300 per day during the same period based on the same factors.

“Based on updated projections from FASSSTER, if mobility continues to increase, compliance to MPHS continues to reduce (20-22% reduction) and booster uptake is maintained at this low level, we MAY see 3,800 to 5,300 daily cases nationally by mid-July,” she said.

The COVID-19 positivity rate in the NCR climbed to 5.9% on June 25 from 3.9% on June 18, OCTA Research said Monday.

Positivity rate refers to the percentage of people who were found positive for COVID-19 among the total number of individuals tested.

Despite this, Vergeire said the severe and critical COVID-19 cases have not yet significantly increased, and the healthcare utilization in the country, which is below 20%, is still manageable.

Based on the Department of Health’s (DOH) Monday report, 391 or 14.9% out of the 2,628 intensive care unit beds were occupied. Meanwhile, 4,034 or 18.1% of the 22,251 non-ICU COVID-19 beds were in use.

Further, Vergeire said they will be recommending to the Inter-Agency Task Force of Emerging Infectious Diseases a new set of metrics for determining the risk case classification of an area, as some indicators may not already be relevant in the current COVID-19 situation in the country.

This came after DOH on Saturday declared that Pasig, San Juan, Quezon City, Marikina, and Pateros are now under moderate risk following the continued rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in those areas.

The DOH said an area will be classified as moderate risk based on its hospital utilization, and if it has a positive two-week growth rate and average daily attack rate of at least six average cases per day per 100,000 population.

“Ngayon, ang binabantayan na talaga natin ay mga ospital kaya itong two-week growth rate, medyo nagiging insignificant nga po. Kagabi, nag-usap kami sa IATF and we will be recommending another set of metrics para mas maging sensitive sa sub variants na kinakaharap natin ngayon,” she said, stressing that the metrics for determining the alert level classification was made at the height of the Delta and Omicron transmission.

Vergeire also said the DOH has already asked the Philippine Food and Drug Administration to study the possible expansion of the administration of the second booster dose to adults ages 50 to 59.

“Titignan ho natin ang sagot ng [we will wait for the answer of] FDA and we will be informing all of you in the coming days,” she added.

The health official on Saturday said that discussions have started with experts to look at which sectors can be included in the second booster inoculation, which is now only given to the frontline healthcare workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised individuals.

At least 14.9 million individuals have received their booster shots in the country.

Meanwhile, 70.3 million Filipinos or 78.17% of the government’s target population are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.