DOH says COVID-19 cases declining, but 3 regions still at 'high risk'

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday, October 11, that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country was indeed declining and this was validated by the also decreasing hospital admissions.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an interview with DZMM's Teleradyo on Monday morning that the DOH confirmed that the decline in infections was not "artificial."

"We're seeing that cases are decreasing based from not just the number of cases, but also the number of admission in our hospitals and the positivity rate," she said.

Last week, Vergeire told reporters that the DOH was assessing whether the downtrend in number of COVID-19 cases in the country in the past days reflected a "true decline" or if there were other factors behind it.

For the past days, the Philippines recorded relatively lower COVID-19 infections, though these were still higher compared to the numbers before the surges driven by the more virulent Delta variant.

On Monday, the new COVID-19 cases in the Philippines dipped to 8,292 . This was the lowest number since August 5, when 8,127 infections were recorded.

The caveat though is that it was observed that COVID-19 cases for the first half of the week are relatively lower due to affected testing output during weekends. The cases reflected in the bulletin were based on tests conducted two days ago.

With Monday's new cases, the country now has 2,674,814 cases of COVID-19. Of these, 98,894 remain active or currently sick.

In a press briefing on Monday, Vergeire said that the Philippines remained at the moderate risk classification. However, she flagged three regions as having high risk classifications. These were Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Cagayan Valley, and Zamboanga peninsula.

CAR has a bed and intensive care utilization (ICU) rate of 86.85% and 85.47% respectively. Meanwhile, Cagayan Valley has 79.69% ward beds utilization and 76.88% for ICU utilization. As for Zamboanga Peninsula, 70.16% of its ward beds have been occupied and 88.4% utilization for ICU beds.

On Saturday, October 9, Vergeire said that, based on DOH's projections, restrictions and quarantine classifications could ease in Metro Manila by Christmas time.

On October 6, Nikkei Asia's ranked Philippines the lowest in terms pandemic recovery rankings for September among 121 countries. The rankings were based on infection management, vaccine rollout, and social mobility.

The country was also dubbed the "worst place to be in" during the pandemic by Bloomberg's COVID-19 resilience ranking. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.

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