DOH notes slower rise in COVID-19 cases in NCR, Calabarzon, Central Luzon

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 2) — The Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau on Thursday noted a slower increase in COVID-19 infections in the National Capital Region, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon.

In a Palace briefing, DOH chief epidemiologist Dr. Alethea De Guzman said infections are rising, but not as fast as before.

Data showed that the two-week growth rate in NCR declined to 46% in the past 14 days, from the 130% recorded three to four weeks ago.

Likewise, Calabarzon’s two-week growth rate went down to 64% from 125%. In Central Luzon, it slid down to 45% from 111%.

“So ito ay mga inisyal na sinyales na baka nga po bumabagal na yung pagtaas ng kaso. Tumataas ang kaso, pero hindi kasing bilis ng dati po,” said De Guzman.

[Translation: So, these are initial signs that there could be a slowdown in the surge of cases. The cases are rising, but it is slower than before.]

De Guzman said there are various factors that contributed to the slowdown: vaccination, implementation of health protocols, and shorter time between detection and isolation.

“Ang isang major factor po dun ay vaccination. Pero hindi lang tayo nakasalalay sa vaccination (But we don’t solely rely on vaccination)...We were also able to push down the numbers because there was improvement on masking and shielding and physical distancing,” she said.

“Isang malaking contribution talaga yung pagpapaiksi ng panahon ng isang case or close contact na na-detect at na-isolate,” De Guzman added.

[Translation: What also contributed to this is the shorter time between detection and isolation of a positive case or close contact.]

However, the DOH said that these regions still remain at “high-risk” classification.

The country has been tallying over 10,000 new COVID-19 infections a day since Aug. 11, with a record-high 22,366 new cases on Aug. 30.

Moreover, the country had an average of 113 deaths per day last week, De Guzman said. But she noted that this is lower than the average 135 daily deaths recorded in April.

“Ngayon na mataas ang kaso, the goal is to minimize the number of severe and critical cases and to reduce the number of fatalities,” she added.