MANILA, Feb 4 (Mabuhay) — The trend of new COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila has leveled off, with the previous fear of a possible spike after the holidays and the Black Nazarene feast not materializing, according to the latest OCTA Research report.

According to the team, Metro Manila’s R-naught, which describes the reproduction of COVID-19 cases, remained steady at 1 over the past week.

The group also said despite the pre-holiday increase in new COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region, “there was no spike due to the holidays or the Black Nazarene festival.”

Despite warnings from the government, thousands of Catholic devotees still participated in the Black Nazarene feast in Manila, which OCTA Research earlier feared could be a “superspreader” event.

In particular, the week-to-week average number of daily cases in NCR “remained nearly the same” from 382 to 379 based on case reports from the Department of Health, according to them.

The group said the positivity rate in NCR over the past week remained at 4% with an average of more than 17,000 polymerase chain reaction tests per day.

While the situation in NCR is “manageable at the moment,” the group warned that a downward trend, with an R-naught of less than 1, needs to be sustained to consider loosening restrictions next month.

“We must and we will move to a better normal, but this has to start with bringing the R naught down below 1 and sustain a downward trend for at least two weeks,” the research team said.

“To achieve this, government and civil society must work together to ensure monitoring and strict compliance with minimum health standards at the community level,” it added.

Metro Manila will remain under general community quarantine in February.

Other LGUs

Meanwhile, the research team said there were still increasing trends observed in several local government units.

The group said Cebu City had the most number of new cases per day with an average of 102, a 60% increase from the previous week.

“Cebu City had a two-week attack rate of 8.45 per 100,00, considered high according to DOH guidelines (greater than 7 per 100,000),” it said.

The group said the positivity rate in Cebu City increased to 8%, while hospital bed occupancy was still manageable at 32%.

Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu also had significant increases in new COVID-19 cases although both LGUs had hospital bed occupancy “way below critical levels.” Mandaue’s positivity rate was greater than 10%.

Further, the group said Iloilo, Passi and Butuan cities also had significant increases in new COVID-19 cases. The local government of Passi has placed the city under enhanced community quarantine, the strictest among quarantine classifications.

“The positivity rates in Butuan, Dagupan, Davao City and Marikina remained above 10%,” OCTA said.

“No LGU had critical hospital bed occupancy, although Baguio City at 68% and Davao City at 62% were close to the 70% critical level,” it added.

Nationwide, cases of COVID-19 hit 528,853 on Tuesday, including 487,611 recoveries and 10,874 fatalities.

There are also 30,368 active cases undergoing treatment or quarantine.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said supply agreements for five COVID-19 vaccines will be completed by the end of the month.

The Philippines aims to secure 146 to 148 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. (MNS)

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