DOH, OCTA Research: Surge of COVID-19 cases ‘very likely’ during, after holiday season

MANILA, Dec 17 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Health (DOH) and OCTA Research team said a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is very likely during and after the holiday season.

At a press conference on Thursday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Philippines may record more infections like the United States and Canada experienced after Thanksgiving.

“The likelihood of this surge in the Philippines in the coming holidays is very likely. And we should take this threat very seriously and act immediately to avoid this from happening,” she said.

According to Vergeire, the initial projection of OCTA Research and the department’s FASSSTER confirmed ‘high’ likelihood of a surge without interventions.

Without aggressive efforts to halt the transmission, Vergeire said the COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) may reach 4,000 new cases daily.

She warned that the number of new daily infections may overwhelm the health system capacity to 80% utilization by the end of January in 2021.

For his part, OCTA Research’s David Guido said the projection of 4,000 daily new cases is very critical.

“The 4,000 cases is actually on the higher end of the projection rather than the lower end,” he said.

“Four thousand is actually a very critical number because last time we went to modified enhanced community quarantine, we were at 2,000 per day in Metro Manila,” he added.

On Wednesday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III called on hospitals and local government units to prepare for the expected surge in cases over the holiday season.

As of Wednesday, the DOH has reported a total of 452,988 COVID-19 cases  with 1,156 new infections. A total of 419,282 patients have already recovered, while 24,873 are still active cases.

The death toll hit 8,833 with 21 new fatalities. (MNS)

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