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Metro COVID-19 positivity rate rising - OCTA

MANILA, Philippines, December 14 ------ The percentage of Filipinos testing positive for COVID-19 has increased over the past weeks in the National Capital Region (NCR), a member of the OCTA Research group said. Although the actual number of cases remains low, OCTA fellow Guido David said the seven-day positivity rate increased from 10.2 percent on Dec. 3 to 13.4 percent on Dec. 10. It was only at seven percent last Nov. 26. 


The positivity rate measures the percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 out of the total RT-PCR tests conducted. OCTA Research based its report on data from the Department of Health (DOH). It does not cover results of the more common antigen tests, which are not included in official government data. On Tuesday, the DOH reported 183 new cases nationwide, including 84 in NCR. Last Monday, there were 254 new cases, including 108 in NCR. Earlier, the Quezon City government raised its COVID alert status to “red” after it reported an increase in both the average new cases and positivity rate. 


DOH has also reported a continuing rise in COVID-19 cases, with the daily average cases posting a 36 rise from the previous week. From Dec. 5 to 11, the DOH recorded a total of 1,821 new COVID-19 cases. There were also 13 additional severe and critical cases logged during the period. As of Dec. 12, the Philippines has 3,813 active COVID cases and more than 66,000 deaths. 


The DOH has recommended the wearing of face masks amid the rising cases. Meanwhile, President Marcos cited the need to ensure that the health care system is ready for El Niño, which is expected to affect the health, energy and farm sectors. In a speech yesterday, Marcos said many people get sick during warm weather so there is a need to ensure that hospitals have adequate power and water supply.  He noted that the elderly – one of the sectors vulnerable to COVID – suffer during warm temperatures. “So, we will have to make sure that the hospitals are operating well,” the President told reporters in an interview. “Something is coming back. I am wearing a mask because I contracted COVID. Pneumonia cases are rising,” he added. 


The 66-year-old President was placed on five-day isolation after catching COVID-19 for the third time. He had also tested positive for the virus in 2020 and 2022. The University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) has re-imposed the face mask mandate inside the hospital. UP-PGH spokesman Dr. Jonas del Rosario yesterday reported that their Hospital Infection Control Unit (HICU) has issued a new guideline requiring the use of face masks for all hospital staff and personnel as well as those entering the health facility. 


In a radio interview, Del Rosario said the new face mask requirement is meant “to protect patients” seeking medical treatment in the hospital. According to Del Rosario, the hospital had already eased the face mask mandate, especially among personnel who are not doing direct patient care. Since there is an uptrend at this time, he said the HICU opted to require all those entering the hospital, including those visiting patients, to wear face masks. He noted that a number of medical staff have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and thus advised not to report for work. But Del Rosario stressed that there is no surge in COVID-19 admissions at PGH and only eight COVID-19 patients are currently admitted. Of the eight COVID-19 patients, six are children. Two of the children got infected with severe COVID. 


There are many COVID-19 consultations, but Del Rosario said they are experiencing mild symptoms and do not need hospitalization. In newly issued guidelines, UP-PGH also recommended that medical personnel who develop symptoms such as cough, colds, fever, sore throat and other symptoms to take the COVID-19 test immediately and report results accordingly. HICU also recommended the wearing of face masks even outside the hospital, especially where there is poor ventilation, crowding or when the individual feels vulnerable or weak or is unvaccinated against COVID-19. 




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