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Average number of new COVID-19 cases in NCR 50% higher from previous week

/ 09:07 PM March 05, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The average number of new COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila in the past week went up to more than 900, 50% higher than the previous week, according to OCTA Research.

The average of more than 900 new cases of COVID-19 is from February 26 to March 4, OCTA Research said in its monitoring report on Friday.

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“This was an increase of 50% from the previous week and 199% compared to 2 weeks ago,” the research team said.

However, OCTA also noted that although B.1.351 variant SARS-CoV-2 was initially detected in Pasay, its prevalence in Metro Manila is not yet known.

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The reproduction number or the average number of persons who may be infected by one COVID-19 positive individual in the region has increased to 1.47, while the positivity rate is at an average of 7 percent over the past seven days and “has now increased by 1 percentage point every week.”

Meanwhile, the two-week daily attack rate in Metro Manila was at 5.4 per 100,000. Overall hospital bed capacity in the region was 41 percent as of March 3.

COVID-19 cases in Pasay

In Pasay, the number of new COVID-19 cases averaged 150 per day over the past week, covering February 26 to March 4.

“This is the highest average daily new cases reported in the city in its history, higher than what Pasay reported during the surge in August 2020,” OCTA Research said.

The reproduction number in Pasay is at 1.83.

According to the research group, several local government units in Metro Manila showed an increase in new COVID-19 cases. However, some LGUs reported a “marginal” increase in new cases, specifically Marikina and Las Pinas.

The OCTA Research also named Barangay 76 in Pasay City as a “hotspot.”

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“There were clusters of barangays with a high number of cases within a small region. The main cluster is linked to Barangay 76 in Pasay City, which had 128 new COVID-19 cases over a period of one week (or an average of 18 per day, higher than the number reported in Muntinlupa, San Juan and Pateros,” the OCTA team said.

Surge starting in NCR

OCTA said it believes that a surge in its early stages has already started in some LGUs in Metro Manila but added that it can still be mitigated or even reversed.

It noted that “unlike past surges experienced, the current surge has spread very quickly in a short period.”

“The increase in cases and the reproduction number indicates that the virus is already spreading exponentially in several LGUs in the region,” OCTA Research said.

“While this still needs to be confirmed by genome sequencing, we believe that the surge may be driven by new and more contagious and lethal variants that could overwhelm the region if left unabated in the next few weeks,” it added.

While the B.1.1.7 variant from the United Kingdom and the B.1.351 variant from South Africa appear to be more contagious, the Department of Health says there is no evidence yet to prove that the variants cause more severe conditions for COVID-19 patients.

The research group added that it believes that the increase in new cases in many LGUs in the capital region and around the country are “largely cases of community transmission exacerbated by the possible spread of a new and more contagious variant apart from the rise in mobility within and among provinces… because of the opening-up and the expansion of economic activity in the NCR and all around the country.”

Coronavirus cases in other areas

Meanwhile, OCTA Research also said that the number of new cases in Cebu City has dropped for the first time, “indicating that the pandemic has reversed its trend in the area.”

However, it added that slight increases were still reported in the cities of Lapu Lapu and Mandaue.

The number of cases in Davao City is also on a downward trend, with the positivity rate decreasing to 5 percent.

In Baguio City, a “renewed uptick” in new cases has been observed. The high positivity rate of 22 percent, particularly over the past few days, also suggests a possible spike in new cases in the Cordillera Administrative Region, according to the research team.

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