MANILA, Philippines —The Department of Health (DOH) has updated its reporting of areas where the most number of COVID-19 cases are recorded to ensure that local officials can implement an “immediate response” to contain the spread of the coronavirus in their communities.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday said the DOH opted to be more specific in identifying where new infections had been listed as it also wanted the public to become better informed for the “local response to immediately be implemented.”
“This also helps provide information to our local government units so that accountability will be there,” Vergeire said.
Since the start of the local outbreak in March, the DOH had broken down daily cases per province. Metro Manila, as the epicenter of the outbreak in the country, always came up on top.
Not similarly situated
But Vergeire said the 16 cities and one municipality in the capital region were not similarly situated as only a few localities were reporting a high number of cases.
DOH data showed that two cities — Caloocan and Las Piñas — had a virus attack rate of less than 1 percent. The attack rate takes into account the number of infections over the total population in a given area.
While Quezon City, Manila, Caloocan, Pasig and Makati have the highest number of active cases, the virus attack rate in these cities is less than 2 percent. Pateros, San Juan and Navotas recorded the highest attack rate of at least 2.05 percent.
Vergeire said the DOH started breaking down cases per city in Metro Manila over the weekend, and the same format would be applied to other provinces soon.
For accountability, too
“Similar to what we have done with our quarantine levels, we want our approach to be granular for accountability purposes and focused interventions,” she said.
On Monday, the DOH listed 2,638 additional COVID-19 cases, pushing the national tally to 359,169. Of the newly reported cases, 1,932 fell ill between Oct. 6 and 19, while 376 got sick in September.
Quezon City recorded the most number of new infections with 141, followed by the provinces of Cavite (140), Laguna (128), Batangas (120) and Rizal (108).
A total 310,303 patients have so far recovered from the disease, with the addition of 226 patients. But the death toll climbed to 6,675 as 26 patients succumbed to the severe respiratory disease—15 this month, two in September, five in August and four in July.
Six of the fatalities were from Metro Manila, four from Soccsksargen, three from Zamboanga, two each from Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Calabarzon, and one each from the Ilocos, Central Luzon, Northern Mindanao, Davao, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera Administrative Region.
The residence of one of the fatalities is still being verified.
The recoveries and deaths left the country with 42,191 active cases, of which 83.1 percent are mild, 11.3 percent asymptomatic, 2.1 percent severe and 3.6 percent critical.
While the country’s positivity rate — or the percentage of people being tested positive — slightly went down from 10.03 percent last week to 9.87 percent, the DOH said the number still “needs improvement” as it remained above the World Health Organization’s benchmark of less than 5 percent.
As of Monday noon, a total 4,136,389 patients had been tested for COVID-19 by the 147 accredited laboratories.
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