15 of 17 regions now low risk for covid outbreak | Inquirer News

15 of 17 regions now low risk for covid outbreak

/ 04:53 AM November 04, 2021

Even with 15 out of 17 regions in the country now at low risk for a COVID-19 outbreak, a Department of Health (DOH) official on Monday urged people not to be complacent to prevent another surge in cases.

Based on DOH data, only Cagayan Valley and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) remain at moderate risk due to the high incidence of coronavirus cases and beds occupancy in the intensive care unit (ICU).

It also showed that all 17 regions recently saw a decrease in their two-week average daily new cases. Nationwide, it dropped to 2,343 in the past two weeks, a decline of 46 percent compared to 4,365 in the previous period.


The country saw a record 20,946 average daily new cases in mid-September due to the highly infectious Delta variant.


The average daily attack rate (Adar), which measures incidence of infection per 100,000 population in an area, was likewise at low risk in all regions, except for Cagayan Valley (8.73) and CAR (15.99). An area with an Adar above 7 is considered at critical risk for an outbreak.

In Metro Manila, the average daily cases decreased by 50 percent or to 405 last week compared to 808 from the previous period.

The occupancy of COVID-19 beds was also at a safe level nationwide except for Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) region, where 55.16 percent of hospital beds reserved for coronavirus patients were in use.

As for Cagayan Valley and CAR, the COVID-19 ICU bed occupancy rates were at 77.14 percent and 69.37 percent, respectively.

A daily average of 87 people died of the coronavirus in October, said the DOH. This was the first time the figures dropped below 100 since April after hitting a record high of 195 in September.

The DOH declared the country at low risk for a COVID-19 outbreak on Oct. 25, more than two months after it went back on lockdown with Metro Manila and five regions at moderate risk.


Virus still here

Despite the improving situation, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire warned that cases could again go up if local government units (LGUs) become lax in enforcing health protocols like wearing a face mask and face shield, maintaining physical distancing, and avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated places.

“The possibility is there. We hope we will all be responsible enough and remember the virus is still here; we are not out of the woods yet,” Vergeire said in an online briefing.

“The only way we can sustain this kind of opening of the economy and the low-risk classification is for LGUs to truly enforce and monitor compliance [with] minimum public health standards,” she added.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco expressed the same sentiment when he addressed the crowd in person for the first time in almost eight months during Monday’s flag-raising ceremony at the House of Representatives.

According to him, people should not put their guard down even if COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates have declined, leading to an easing of quarantine restrictions in many parts of the country, including Metro Manila.

Velasco said “there should be no room for laxity” despite the improvement in the country’s COVID-19 status.

“It’s like a thorn was dislodged from our side and we heaved a sigh of relief after a long time of bated breath. But this does not mean that we should be complacent,” he said as he urged people to continue observing health protocols.

Case update

Over the weekend, the DOH warned that should mobility increase while compliance with health protocols declined by 26 percent, active cases could reach between 33,891 and 52,393 by mid-December.

A total of 2,087 new COVID-19 cases and 91 more deaths were reported by the DOH on Monday, bringing the country’s total confirmed cases to 2,805,294 and death toll to 44,521.

The DOH said 5.2 percent of 43,206 people tested last Saturday were found positive for the virus. Eight laboratories failed to submit their data.

Of the total number of cases, the active cases or those still infected with COVID-19 went down to 32,077, the lowest since March 1. Of these, 64.7 percent were mild, 5.8 percent asymptomatic, 16.09 percent moderate, 9.5 percent severe and 4 percent critical.

The percentage of COVID-19 patients with moderate, severe and critical illness out of the total active cases has gone up in the last month, from around 9 percent in early October to nearly 30 percent since last week.

But the number of admitted COVID-19 patients has gone down, along with a decline in new and active cases, according to Vergeire.

She said that as of Sept. 12, there were 32,334 admitted cases, of which 7,752 were in severe and critical condition.

As of Oct. 24, total admitted cases had gone down to 17,521, including 4,094 severe and critical cases.

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Vergeire said the percentage of severe and critical patients among the active cases had gone up since they stayed in hospitals for weeks.


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