NCR hospitals ‘overwhelmed’ by Easter Sunday – OCTA

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    GIVEN the current pace of the surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, the independent OCTA Research Team over the weekend projected all hospitals and medical facilities in Metro Manila will be overwhelmed around Easter Sunday, April 4.

    In a two-page statement released on late Saturday night, OCTA said: “This explosive rise in cases in the capital region now threatens the integrity of our healthcare system. Our modeling suggests that with the current reproduction number hovering around 1.9, we expect both total bed and ICU capacity in the NCR to reach full 100 percent occupancy by the first week of April.”

    “We should expect our hospital facilities and medical frontliners to be overwhelmed within a period of several weeks, just around and after Easter,” it added.

    What is worse, OCTA said, is that the model that it has been using in making its projections was “conservative in nature” as it did not take into account the spread of the different COVID-19 variants that are circulating in the capital.

    “We wanted to present the best case scenario (but) these projections still suggest that the current surge in the capital is at a critical juncture,” said OCTA.

    The OCTA Research Team has earlier projected that new cases in the country could spike at 8,000 by the end of March. A few days after the projection, it revised the figure and said that the number of reported cases could go as high as 11,000 daily by March 31.

    The Department of Health reported 7,999 new cases last Saturday, the highest number of recorded cases on a day since the COVID-19 pandemic took the country by storm last year.

    The research team urged national and local government officials to take “drastic and immediate action” to significantly slow down the upwelling of cases in Metro Manila

    “Reducing the reproduction number to 1.5 delays this critical threshold by about one to two weeks to the middle of the month,” said OCTA.

    The Department of Health, on Friday and Saturday, tallied record highs in COVID-19 cases at 7,103 and 7,999, respectively. Currently, there are 40,517 active COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila.

    Meanwhile, the University of the Philippines – Pandemic Response Team said the country’s positivity rate could rise to 15 percent as early as next month.

    In a radio interview, UP – Pandemic Response Team member Prof. Jomar Rabajante said the positivity rate may continue increasing until before the middle of the year.

    Positivity rate is defined as the percentage of those who test positive from the total number of people tested for COVID-19. Currently, the country’s positivity rate is at 14.6 percent.

    “Positivity rate before is 10 percent. But now, it is increasing to 15 percent, especially in NCR,” said Rabajante, adding: “Based on our monitoring, and given the evidence, the positivity rate could increase possibly in April and May.”

    He said the increase will be dependent on the interventions to be adopted by the government, as he stressed that

    the surge will hinge on public compliance to health protocols laid down by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.