COVID transmission still low – DOH | Inquirer News
Despite rising cases in some areas

COVID transmission still low – DOH

/ 05:40 AM July 13, 2022
MRT 3 passengers line up. STORY: COVID transmission still low – DOH

Passengers show their vaccination cards upon entering the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 at Edsa-North Avenue Station. (File photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The country remains classified as low risk despite rising COVID-19 infections, as transmission rates and hospitalizations were still manageable in the past week, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

Based on the latest DOH data, the national daily case tally averaged 1,535 infections from July 5 to 11. This was 41 percent higher than the previous week.

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“Most areas show a sharp increase,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online forum on Tuesday, adding that Metro Manila registered the “steepest” rise, with about 650 cases per day.

But the average case count in the rest of Luzon and the Visayas combined was less than half the figure in the National Capital Region at below 350 cases per day, while in Mindanao, it was below 100 per day.

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Below the threshold

Other indicators show that coronavirus transmission remains under control.

All but four regions had an average daily attack rate (Adar) of less than 1 per 100,000 population.

Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Western Visayas, and the Cordillera Administrative Region posted a higher Adar at a range of 1.3 to 4.4 per 100,000, Vergeire said.

But Vergeire noted that these figures were still below the threshold of six cases per 100,000 for an area to be considered moderate risk.

Overall healthcare utilization rate also remained low at 22 percent, while the intensive care utilization rate was at 17 percent.

Vergeire said there were less than 1,000 severe and critical cases in hospitals, accounting for less than 1.5 percent of total admissions in the country.

She attributed the current uptrend of COVID-19 infections to the entry of Omicron sublineages in the country which were found to be “more transmissible” than the original Omicron variant B.1.1.529.

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Omicron variants

Results of genome sequencing conducted by the Philippine Genome Center from July 7 to 11 showed 60 new cases of BA.5 detected in three regions—with 58 from Western Visayas alone, while the Davao and Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City) regions accounted for one case each.

There were 17 new cases of BA.2.12.1 detected in Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Davao, and two more cases of BA.4 in Mindanao.

While Vergeire said the bulk of the sequenced samples in the last two weeks were of BA.5, she emphasized that there was still no community transmission in the country, even in Western Visayas where the majority of that variant was detected.

Initial studies found that BA.5 has the potential to evade immunity and has about 30 percent “growth advantage” over the so-called “stealth” BA.2 and its subvariants. It has triggered a new surge in cases in the United States, South Africa, and many European countries.

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