OCTA: Virus spread slows, but not enough to ease NCR Plus curbs
The transmission rate of the COVID-19 virus has slowed down, but not enough to be a basis for relaxing mobility restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus bubble, the independent research group OCTA group said on Thursday.
OCTA research fellow Guido David said the reproduction rate of the virus had gone down further to R=0.99, from 1.96 a week before the government announced quarantine restrictions in the NCR Plus bubble, which includes Metro Manila and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan.
The reproduction rate indicates the speed of the virus’ spread. The higher the number, the faster the spread.
“We have lowered transmission to R=0.99 in the NCR, and the positivity rate has decreased to 22 percent from a high of 25 percent,” David said.
Based on the group’s monitoring, he said, the average number of cases in Metro Manila as of Wednesday was 4,388, an 11-percent decrease from last week’s average of 4,870 cases.
Demand for beds still high
But the slower transmission rate may not be enough reason to lift mobility restrictions in the NCR Plus bubble, since demand for hospital space in Metro Manila remains high, David said.
The NCR Plus bubble remains under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), a step down from the strictest quarantine level in the country.
“Hospital utilization is still high. This is a major factor if we want to lift the MECQ. Hospital beds are still full, so while the trend is now decreasing, the number of cases will remain high in the next few weeks,” David added.
Again less than 10K
On Thursday, the Department of Health recorded 8,767 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the country’s total case count to 971,049.This is the fourth straight day that new infections fell below the 10,000 mark.
Earlier on Wednesday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the lower number of new cases per day could be “artificial” since some labs have slowed down testing on Sundays.
In its daily case bulletin, the DOH said there are still 107,988 active cases, or currently sick patients. Of this number, majority, or 96.6 percent, are mild cases, 1.3 percent are asymptomatic, 0.7 percent are critical, 0.9 percent are severe cases and 0.55 percent are moderate cases
Meanwhile, 17,138 patients have recovered, bringing the total number of survivors to 846,691. The health department recently shifted to a “time-based recovery” system, which assumes that mild and asymptomatic patients are recovered after 14 days.
The same case bulletin also reported 105 additional deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 16,370.
The DOH removed 25 duplicates from the total case count, and said that after final validation, 43 cases previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths.
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