The alarm bells regarding the increasing cases of infection are ringing out loud.
And rightly the Department of Health has sought higher community quarantine levels as a preemptive measure against the Delta variant after recording an increase in COVID-19 cases nationwide.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire has told the government-run People’s Television Network that all areas are showing an increase in cases.
“We need to immediately address, observe case increases, closely monitor health care utilization and consider implementing higher community quarantine as preemptive measures to contain the Delta spread,” she said.
While the entire country’s risk classification remains at “moderate,” the National Capital Region and NCR Plus areas “are showing a steep increase, while the rest of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao [are] exhibiting a slight increase in cases.
As of August 2, the capital region registered the most number of new cases at 2,074, followed by Calabarzon, Central Visayas, Central Luzon, and Western Visayas, data from the DOH showed.
Cavite, Laguna, Quezon City, Bulacan Cebu City, and Bohol are the top contributors of new COVID-19 cases in the country.
Of the 21 areas flagged due to moderate-high risk case classification, 11 areas had Delta variant carriers, according to Vergeire.
In Metro Manila, the more virulent strain is present in nine cities, with intensive care units in Las Piñas City nearly full, while Pateros and Malabon are already at “critical risk.”
The two-week growth rate (TWGR) of the virus in Pateros is at 328 percent. This means that in the past two weeks, about 22 people in the area contracted the virus daily, according to data from the Department of Health.
Malabon’s TWGR is at a 314 percent rate, and the city is estimated to have recorded 12 new COVID-19 patients every day in the past two weeks.
“We should stockpile on essential COVID-19 medicine and commodities,” Vergeire said, adding there should be a “30-day buffer for personal protective equipment, reagents, and other medical supplies.
So far, 216 people have been confirmed to be carriers of the Delta variant, but DOH officials said they were assuming there was already community transmission of the more contagious strain.
Several government advisers have been urging the national government to increase the country’s COVID-19 vaccination target to 80 percent from 70 percent to protect more Filipinos against the Delta variant which is “60 to 100 percent” more transmissible than the virus’ original strain.
The Philippines is expected to lose up to P105 billion each week due to Metro Manila’s lockdown.
According to the DOH, the Delta variant was one of the factors that caused the COVID-19 cases to exponentially rise.
“Looking at our cases right now, it’s exponentially rising, so we really think Delta variant is driving the rise in the number of cases,” Vergeire told CNN Philippines, stressing that other variants such as the more transmissible Alpha and Beta are also a factor in the uptick.
The Philippines has logged 1,856 Alpha cases, 2,146 Beta cases, and 216 Delta cases as of July 28.
On the other hand, Vergeire said the DOH had yet to confirm community transmission of the Delta variant, which would mean that links between cases can no longer be identified.
The DOH earlier said the reimposition of the strictest lockdown regulations over Metro Manila from August 6 to 20 will prevent daily new cases from going up to 15,000.
“If we are going to continue on and we will not have these kinds of restrictions, we can reach up to 500,000 active cases by the end of September,” Vergeire warned.
Despite the tightening of restrictions, however, the total number of active cases in Metro Manila is still seen to hit 30,000 by end-September.
Authorities have said Metro Manila would inoculate 250,000 people daily and conduct 24/7 vaccination during the ECQ.
Vergeire said this would be a “very big contribution” to protecting the healthcare system.
Let’s help one another in protecting ourselves and the others in the community.