MANILA, July 26 (Mabuhay) — COVID-19 reproduction number in Metro Manila rose from 1.21 to 1.29, barely a day after an increase in the Delta variant cases was reported, independent group OCTA Research Team said Sunday.

Also, COVID-19 cases further increased by 43% after the metropolis recorded an average of 897 new virus infections per day from July 18 to July 24.

OCTA Research warned, “The current trend in NCR over the past week follows the course from February 14 to 21, when a surge was in its early stages.”

Earlier, OCTA advised the national government to implement stricter quarantine status when early stages of the surge was detected in Metro Manila.

It noted that the surge could be driven by the more transmissible Delta variant, which now has 64 cases.

Moreover, OCTA said the positivity rate in Metro Manila rose to 7%, while hospital capacity and occupancy of intensive care units remained low or below 60%.

For the whole country, reproduction number (the rate an infected person can infect others) was at 1.09, with average daily cases from 5,063 to 5,817.

OCTA also identified Valenzuela, Manila, Makati, Caloocan and Las Piñas as cities with increasing cases.

“Valenzuela, Makati and Las Piñas are considered high-risk areas,” said OCTA.

For Luzon, it said that Laoag in Ilocos Norte has continued to be in near-critical state with 1.82 infection rate, 53.64 incidence rate, and 29% positivity rate. New cases there rose by 38% from 45 to 62.

On Friday last week, some health workers in Ilocos Norte called for a two-week timeout from the government to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.

Mariveles, Bataan in Central Luzon is also at critical risk, with 1.45 infection rate, 22.53 incidence rate and 19% positivity rate. Fresh cases in the town, meanwhile, went down from 64 to 47.

Delta-hit Cagayan de Oro at critical risk

Aside from Mariveles, Bataan, OCTA indicated that Cagayan de Oro in Northern Mindanao is also at critical risk from COVID-19, after it detected several Delta variant cases.

“Cagayan de Oro is now classified as critical-risk area due to high levels of infection, ICU utilization, and positivity rate (testing),” OCTA said.

Currently, new cases in Cagayan de Oro have more than doubled from July 18 to July 24. Fresh cases went up by 109% from 56 to 117.

Infection rate in Cagayan de Oro rose to 1.54, incidence rate was at 16.01, utilization rate of intensive care units was at 85%, and positivity rate rose to 27%.

The health department recorded eight active cases of the Delta variant, of which, four were from Cagayan de Oro.

Other areas in Southern Philippines, including Davao City, and General Santos City slowed down.

“Although both are still classified as high risk areas based on COVID Act Now criteria,” OCTA also pointed out.

While new cases in Davao decreased by -7%, incidence rate was still at 11.23, ICU occupancy was at 83% and positivity rate was at 16%.

In General Santos City, new cases went up by 13% from 60 to 68. Its infection rate was at 1.05, incidence rate at 10.51, ICU utilization rate at 69% and positivity rate at 26%.

The cities of Cebu, Lapu Lapu, and Mandaue have reported an uptick in fresh cases.

For Visayas, OCTA also warned that Cebu City is reporting a rise in fresh cases, after its reproduction number rose to 1.90.

OCTA experts found that Cebu City’s new cases grew by 82% from 96 to 175.

“In February 2021, Cebu City reached a peak of 220 daily cases and a peak reproduction number of 1.90, so it looks  possible that this current surge will eclipse the  previous surge in February 2021,” the independent research team said.

Fresh cases in Lapu Lapu City also increased by 60% from 47 to 75. Its reproduction number was at 1.96 and incidence rate was at 16.48.

As for Mandaue City, fresh cases climbed to 53 from 23, which increased by 130%. Reproduction number was at 2.16.

“Elsewhere in Visayas, the trends have slowed down in Bacolod and Iloilo City, although the latter is still considered high risk,” according to OCTA. (MNS)

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