Covid cases in NCR drop

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THE number of Covid-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) has gone down, and so has the virus’ reproduction number, the independent group OCTA Research reported on Monday.

The region averaged 3,144 cases in the past seven days, 18 percent lower than the previous week’s average. It is also 43 percent lower than the peak seven-day average of 5,551 new cases, OCTA noted.

In the cities of Navotas, Pateros, Pasay, Manila, San Juan, Malabon, Marikina and Makati, the number of cases fell by half, with Navotas having the biggest decline at 76 percent.

But OCTA cautioned that the downtrend in new cases must be sustained before Metro Manila is pronounced to be fully on its way to recovery.

The group also reported that the reproduction number is showing signs of plateauing to 0.8 to 0.9 from a previous high of 1.9.

Based on the reproduction number, OCTA predicts the number of daily cases to go down from 3,000 from May 2 to 8 to 2,800 from May 9 to 15.

“If the reproduction number begins to increase again, there will be concern about the current quarantine restrictions in the NCR Plus,” OCTA said, referring to the NCR Plus grouping that includes the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan.

Another welcome development is the drop in the positivity rate, OCTA said. From as high as 25 percent a month ago, the number of cases that tested positive was down to 17 percent, based on an average of 24,450 tests per day.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire was cautious about the lower case figures,
saying the Department of Health (DoH) has to monitor the health care utilization rate and the capability of local government units in Metro Manila to implement their own measures to control the virus to determine if the region can finally move to a more lenient quarantine.

A region can only shift to a lower quarantine classification if it reaches a seven-day average daily attack rate of seven cases per 100,000 population, improved its health system capacity and achieved target numbers in the prevention, detection, isolation, treatment and recovery response.

Based on the DoH data, the two-week average daily attack rate from April 18 to May 1 slid to 25 cases per 100,000 population, slightly lower than the 34 cases per 100,000 from April 1 to 17. But it remains high when compared to the rate from January 31 to February 6 of three cases per 100,000 population.

Despite the dropping number of cases, Vergeire advised the public to temper their expectations and not to grow complacent.

“This is not for us to be complacent at this point, tuloy tuloy nating tignan ang pagbaba ng kaso (we will see the decrease of cases) and hopefully it becomes significant when we try to look at the health care system also,” she said.

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