COVID repro rate in Metro goes down

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    COVID busters. Personnel from the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office conduct disinfection and fogging operations in Barangays 624 and 262 Zone 24 in Tondo, Manila. PHOTO BY RHOY COBILLA

    OCTA: Too early to say it’s start of downward trend

    JUST days after placing Metro Manila and nearby provinces in a “bubble” to slow down the rapid transmission of the COVID-19 virus and its variants, the reproduction rate of the coronavirus disease in the National Capital Region (NCR) has gone down below two (2).

    In its latest monitoring report, the independent OCTA Research Team said the reproduction rate in the NCR has decreased to 1.91 as of March 24. The region’s R naught on March 22 was at 2.1.

    But OCTA said it was still too early to project a continued downtrend for the remainder of the two-week bubble period.

    President Duterte placed the NCR and neighbor provinces Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan and Cavite into what is called the “NCR Plus bubble” from March 22 to April 4 in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus. NCR has been the epicenter of the pandemic, consistently tallying the highest recorded infections.

    OCTA said that while the reproduction rate has gone down, other indicators continue to manifest upward trends.

    It noted that over the past week, the number of new COVID-19 cases in the NCR averaged 3,804 per day, which is an increase of 61 percent compared to the earlier weeks.

    The daily attack rate in Metro Manila also increased to 27.2 percent for every 100,000, thus putting the region in the “high risk” classification.

    Likewise, the case positivity rate in the region was 18 percent over the past seven days.

    Barangay Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City was found to have the highest number of new COVID-19 cases from March 18 to 24 with 342.

    This was followed by Barangays 76 (2nd) and 183 (3rd) in Pasay City, with 309 and 251 new cases, respectively.

    At fourth is Barangay Pio del Pilar in Makati City with 240 cases, followed by Barangay Commonwealth in Quezon City with 194 cases.

    Completing the Top 10 are Batasan Hills, QC (180); San Antonio, Makati City (173); BF Homes, Parañaque City (170); Holy Spirit, QC (168); and Culiat, QC (166).

    In a separate statement, the independent research team said there is also a need to closely monitor two provinces outside the “bubble”.

    According to OCTA, they are they are closely watching health developments in Batangas and Pampanga because “the trends in Batangas and Pampanga, considering these provinces are outside the bubble… but the week to week percentage increase in new cases was actually higher in these provinces compared to the bubble.”

    OCTA data shows that Pampanga has seen an 86 percent increase this week compared to last week, while Batangas has seen a 141 percent surge this week compared to last week.

    Yesterday, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) announced in an advisory that it has already reached full capacity in its designated beds for COVID-19 patients.

    The advisory likewise said there has been a significant increase in the number of its healthcare workers testing positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks.

    “We humbly request the public and other health care facilities to refer their critically ill, probable, or suspected COVID-19 patients to other health care facilities for immediate care and management,” said NKTI., as it assured the public that its emergency room staff shall continue to acutely manage renal emergency cases and post kidney transplant patients only.

    The Pasay City General Hospital (PCGH), on the other hand, announced it has temporarily closed its Teleconsult Out Patient Department (TOPD) after three nurses assigned to the unit tested positive for the virus.

    Dr. Jonvic de Gracia, PCGH officer-in-charge, said the TOPD will resume its operation once all close contacts of the nurses have been traced and tested.