Virus spread slowing in Metro Manila bubble – OCTA

MANILA (AdChoiceTV News) — The latest rate of coronavirus disease infections in the National Capital Region (NCR)-Plus bubble, the country’s central “high risk” area, is on a “clear downward trajectory,” the OCTA Research Group said yesterday.

Highlighting the effectiveness of imposing lockdowns in Metro Manila and its adjoining provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal since March, OCTA said its monitoring for the week of April 18 to 24 reflected a slowdown in the increase of new COVID-19 cases.

It said the reproduction number in the NCR decreased to 0.93.

“The average number of new COVID-19 cases reported per day in the NCR was 3,841 over the past week, with a one week growth rate of -20 percent,” the group said in its latest report.

“The current average is also 30 percent lower than the average of 5,552 during the peak of the surge three weeks ago,” it added.

The OCTA group had led calls for the enforcement of a hard lockdown in the epicenter of the pandemic in the country ahead of the Lenten holidays in the last week of March, sounding off the alarm of a big surge in new COVID-19 cases.

In response, Malacañang declared a return to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in NCR-Plus from March 29 to April 4, then extended it to April 11. This was followed by downgrading of movement restrictions to modified ECQ until April 30.

“The positivity rate in the NCR over the past week was 19 percent, from an average of 26,120 tests per day,” OCTA research fellows said.

“Three weeks ago, the positivity rate was as high as 25 percent. Hospital bed occupancy in the NCR decreased to 61 percent while ICU bed occupancy also decreased to 71 percent,” they added.

As the number of new COVID-19 cases per day continues to decrease in the NCR, OCTA noted how the number of new COVID-19 cases in all 17 LGUs in the capital region had also decreased compared with the previous week’s figures.

“Solid downward trends (with at least two consecutive weeks of negative one-week growth rate) were observed in Pasay, Manila, Navotas, Muntinlupa and Caloocan. Negative growth rates were also observed in Cavite, Rizal, Laguna and Bulacan,” it said.

Some numbers still up

However, OCTA noted that hospital occupancy remained high within the NCR-Plus bubble, although the occupancy rate decreased in some LGUs due to the expansion of hospital bed and ICU capacity in some hospitals.

Outside the NCR Plus, however, it detected a significant increase in new COVID-19 cases per day in Angeles City, Pampanga that was up by 89 or 31 percent.

“Pampanga had an average of 334 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past week, up by 6 percent from the previous week. Batangas also had an increase of 24 percent from the previous week to 327 new COVID-19 cases per day,” it said.

Reporting by Sean Tyler Chan / AdChoiceTV News

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