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MANILA, Sept 24 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Health (DOH) has updated its COVID-19 case projections for the National Capital Region (NCR) to indicate that the virus continues to spread, but at a slower pace.

In an online briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said active cases could reach 58,117 by September 30 before dropping to 54,780 by October 15 and 46,563 by October 31.

She said the peak in terms of active cases might take place on October 1 (58,124).

The DOH also projected that there could be 6,085 new cases by September 30, with the peak possibly this Friday, September 24, at 6,176 cases.

Metro Manila reported 4,505 new infections on Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases to 41,609, according to DOH data.

“These projections are not set in stone primarily because these are also based on the assumptions and the changes in our actual case trend,” Vergeire said.

“We remain cautious in interpreting our numbers. While we are seeing signs of decline in cases, it is important to keep in mind that our trend is also affected by factors such as our testing output and the detection activities such as active case finding and testing.”

Vergeire said the number of tests done in Metro Manila as of September 21 declined from 287,548 the previous week to 258,047 recently, reflecting a 10.3% decrease. This translated to a lower number of positive individuals, from 66,654 to 50,194.

“We are currently assessing the reasons for this decline and if it reflects a true decline in cases or just affected by the other factors such as ongoing active case finding, contact tracing, and the use of the antigen to complement the RT-PCR testing,” she said.

She also said the NCR’s average daily attack rate remains at high risk at 38.04 cases per 100,000 population, the highest among all of the regions in the country.

Earlier this month, the DOH said daily coronavirus cases in the NCR would likely be between 16,000 and 43,000 unless the national and local governments beef up virus containment measures.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Guido David of the OCTA Research said the National Capital Region’s (NCR) COVID-19 reproduction number has slid further.

In a tweet, David said NCR’s COVID-19 reproduction number went down to 0.97 from the 0.99 reported the previous day.

Reproduction number refers to the number of people that each case can infect.

David also said NCR growth rate is at -22% for a seven-day average of 4,480 cases, and that “[a]ll 17 LGUs (local government units) had negative 1-week growth rate.”

The latest OCTA report covered the September 17 to 23 period. (MNS)

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