PH detects 32 new cases of more transmissible Omicron BA.5
HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque III yesterday raised the possibility that the COVID-19 infections in the National Capital Region may reach as high as 2,000 by the middle or end of July.
This as the Philippines has logged 32 new cases of the more transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.5, bringing the total to 43, according to the DOH Wednesday.
In a radio interview, Duque was asked about the DOH’s projections on COVID-19 cases if the rise in infection continues in the coming weeks.
“Meron tayong pinakikinggan na mga third-party na mga projections na mga outfits kagaya ng AuTuMN o Australian Tuberculosis [Modelling] Network na isinama din nila ang pagbabantay ng COVID dito sa Pilipinas at sinasabi nila na by the end of June or mga first week of July, ang kaso sa NCR will be anywhere from 800 to 1,200 a day,” Duque said.
“Pwedeng mag-peak ‘yan sa NCR ng 1,500 to 2,000. But after that peak some time in July, siguro by mid-July or end of July, babalik ‘yan, magpa-plateau na ‘yan doon sa 800 to about 1,200,” he added.
OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said Tuesday that NCR’s growth rate of COVID-19 cases has further increased to 72%, but its hospital utilization rate remains “low” at 22%.
The increase in hospital admissions in four areas in NCR, one in Calabarzon, and one in Northern Mindanao due to COVID-19 are, however, being monitored by the Department of Health (DOH).
Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday also said more COVID-19 cases are expected to be recorded in the coming weeks as the country is now seeing another “peak” of infections that may be attributed to the entry of the more transmissible Omicron sub variants, the increased mobility in the country, and the waning immunity of the vaccinated population.
Vergeire said 21 of new cases of the more transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.5 were from Western Visayas, four from Calabarzon, four from the National Capital Region, and three from Central Luzon.
The number of confirmed active cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines increased to 4,860 on Tuesday, the highest tally reported since May 3, 2022.
According to the DOH’s latest bulletin, 409 new coronavirus cases were also reported on Tuesday, increasing the total nationwide caseload to 3,697,200.
The DOH also reported Tuesday that it is monitoring the increase in hospital admissions in six areas in the country due to COVID-19.
Vergeire said that four of the areas are in the National Capital Region, one in Calabarzon, and one in Northern Mindanao.
She explained that the rise in hospitalization rate amid the increase in of COVID-19 infections in the past weeks, could be attributed to several factors.
“Maaring nagbaba ng number ng COVID beds, maari ring ang pumapasok na admissions natin ay mild and asymptomatic, maari rin naman na pagka sa ICU (intensive care unit) ang gamit, maaaring pumasok na iba ang kondisyon pero kapag nagpa-test for screening, biglang lumalabas na positibo sila,” the health official said.
A total of 385 or 14.6% of the 2,636 ICU beds were also occupied, while 4,033 or 18.2% of the 22,156 non-ICU COVID-19 beds were in use.
Despite this, Vergeire answered in affirmative when asked if the Health department is prepared should the hospital admissions continue to increase due to the viral disease.
“Handa po tayo. We have been prepared and we have experienced this kind of pagtaas ng kaso in the past. In our hospitals, our local governments, alam na po nila ang kanilang gagawin sa ganito,” she said.
Further, Vergeire also floated the possibility that there might be a higher number of COVID-19 cases in the country than those reported by the DOH due to lack of testing.
“Talagang inaasahan natin na talagang hindi po kumpleto ang ating pumapasok na datos dahil alam po natin na baka marami sa ating kababayan ang hindi na nagpapa-test and they just isolate themselves kapag may sintomas. ‘Yung iba naman po, they use the rapid antigen test to detect kung meron silang sakit o wala,” she said.
“Bagamat hindi natin nakukuha ang lahat ng reports ngayon, we have this estimate kung ilan ‘yung hindi natin nakukuha at kasama po ‘yan sa projections natin para nakapagplano tayo and we can prepare,” she added.