The Philippines' daily positivity rate – or the percentage of all COVID-19 tests performed that are actually positive – hit 9.16% on Wednesday, March 3, according to Rappler monitoring.
It was the highest rate recorded since September 18, 2020, when the country logged 9.23%.
Rappler based its monitoring on the Department of Health's (DOH) data drop, where data is "extracted from tracking sheets accomplished by COVID-19 testing laboratories" every 6 pm daily. The data then goes through a verification process.
The test results data on the DOH bulletin being released to the public every day at 4 pm reflect test results only as of 12 pm of the previous day.
On Thursday, March 4, the DOH reported 2,452 confirmed COVID-19 infections. It is the 7th time in 8 days that new cases were above 2,000.
Meanwhile, the country has logged an average of 2,289.14 new cases daily over the last 7 days, the highest since October 21, 2020, when 2,319.86 average cases were reported.
This comes at a time when the Philippines has detected the presence of the more infectious South African variant of COVID-19, which experts say may have an effect on vaccine efficacy. (READ: DOH detects South African COVID-19 variant in PH, reports 6 cases)
The World Health Organization recommends positivity rates to remain below 5% for at least two weeks before governments can consider reopening the economy. (READ: Duterte to reopen economy when most Filipinos have access to COVID-19 vaccine)
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire acknowledged the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country during the Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, February 27. She said the DOH sees at least two factors that might have caused the increase.
One factor was the easing of restrictions in certain areas. “Kaya po tayo ay nagpapaalala pa rin sa ating mga kababayan na kailangan po ay maging istrikto pa rin tayo sa pagpapatupad nitong minimum public health standards,” the health undersecretary said.
(That’s why we are reminding everyone that we still need to be strict with the implementation of our minimum public health standards.)
Another factor that could have contributed to the increase in cases was the response of the local government units (LGUs), Vergeire said, reminding the LGUs to tighten quarantine and isolation protocols.
On Monday, March 1, the country began legally rolling out COVID-19 vaccines with donated doses from China.
The pandemic has so far infected over 115 million people globally. In the Philippines, a total of 584,667 cases have been recorded as of March 4, with 12,404 deaths and 535,037 recoveries.
The country has 37,226 active cases. – Rappler.com